What are the greatest challenges for sturgeons in the Danube-Carpathian region?
Challenges for sturgeon conservation in the Danube region are serious and manifold: lack of essential knowledge about the status of sturgeons or their habitat requirements, the difficult economic situation that drives fishermen to poach and fosters illegal caviar trade and corruption, increasing pressure from highly destructive infrastructure developments – in addition to existing impairments like the huge Iron Gate dams, deficiencies in law enforcement, political will and financial means to tackle these challenges.
What is WWF doing about them?
WWF fights on all fronts and on all levels. We fill the most urgent knowledge gaps by research. We work with fishermen and help them identify and attain alternative livelihood options. We flag threats and advocate for solutions. We support law enforcement agencies to make their work more efficient.
What are our greatest success stories for sturgeons in the past years?
Through an EU LIFE project we were able to build the vital basis for sturgeon conservation - to establish awareness and win support of relevant actors in the two key range states, Romania and Bulgaria. Fishermen along the Danube, responsible agencies, decision makers and industry are now conscious of the precarious state of sturgeons and more capable of their protection.
How do you hope to see the future of sturgeons in the Danube-Carpathian region?
Our hope clearly is a secure future for thriving populations of all sturgeon species in the Danube. At present, WWF is the key force for sturgeon conservation in the Lower Danube region, but it is the local stakeholders that should embrace the issue and take over looking after their sturgeons and ensuring their survival.