WWF sturgeon project praised by EU and Convention of Migratory Species
The “Joint actions to raise awareness on overexploitation of Danube sturgeons in Romania and Bulgaria” project aims to tackle overfishing, the main threat to their survival. It sets out to stop the overexploitation of the critically endangered Danube sturgeons in Bulgaria and Romania and to secure the long term survival of these species with their high natural and economic value.
“The project represents a major contribution to European biodiversity protection,” said Angelo Salsi, head of LIFE Nature unit at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for the Environment. “This proposal was not initially accepted, but after being submitted again in the following call for proposals, it was named as the best in 2011 out of all three strands of the programme.”
Currently quantitative information on Danube sturgeon populations and their spawning and overwintering sites is not available due to patchy monitoring. With the WWF project “at least 50,000 young restocked sturgeons will be tagged, released in the Danube and monitored. The release of tagged sturgeons will not only contribute to strengthen the very low populations in the wild, but it will also ensure the quality of future restocking programmes because the origin of individuals taken for reproduction will be easy to track and inbreeding will be avoided,” says freshwater expert Stoyan Mihov of WWF Bulgaria. It carries out the work in coordination with the Bulgarian Ministry of Environment and Water and the Executive Fisheries Agency at the Ministry of Agriculture and Food.
That component of the WWF work on sturgeons was named ‘project of the month’ by the Convention of Migratory Species Small Grants Programme for February 2014.