Sturgeons are the most endangered fish worldwide, with few natural habitats left for them to call home. To enable the conservation of these precious fish in the Lower Danube and North-Western Black Sea, a new project has just been started with financial support by LIFE, the EU’s funding instrument for the environment.
By Alexander Moiseev, Marine Programme Project Coordinator at WWF-Russia
The Volga is the largest river in Europe. Its basin was a place where nations, states and civilisations were born. In the middle of the 16th century, up to 30,000 pieces of beluga and stellate sturgeon were caught annually in its lower reaches and the biggest fish were sent to the royal court.
On June 20 EU Environment Ministers endorsed an ambitious EU Action Plan to boost the region’s collective efforts to end wildlife trafficking, but the absence of some key commitments on financial resources, national legislative amendments and reporting could weaken its overall impact and effectiveness. All of these are missing from the final conclusions.
The project “Joint actions to raise awareness of the overexploitation of Danube sturgeons in Romania and Bulgaria”, or “Sturgeons: Protect Danube’s treasure”, which ended in 2015, is now a finalist in the Communications category of the 2016 Natura 2000 Award.