EU’s largest sturgeon breeding farm will be in Romania

Newsroom 22/08/2013 | 07:26

In Tamadau village, the southeastern Calarasi county, it will be opened the largest wild sturgeon breeding farm starting this October, with the facility to start operating in 2014.

The investments in the breeding farm began nearly ten years ago, and while it was originally able to breed 200,000 fry, its capacity will reach 500,000 fry following the project funded by the EU that is currently under way, according to Agerpres newswire.

In order to develop the Danube sturgeon population on the long-term, the programme aimed at re-inhabiting the Danube with such fish should continue, a programme initiated by the Romanian agriculture ministry that has been stopped for three years amid a lack of funds.

The situation of the sturgeons in Romania

According to a World Wide Fund (WWF) report, Romania and Bulgaria, which were the most important exporters of caviar of the wild Danube sturgeon, currently own the largest wild population of this species in the EU, which the Romanian authorities believe to be endangered due to illegal use.

In June this year were presented the results of the first national study of attitudes towards the conservation of Danube sturgeons in Romania. According to the WWF, in order to gain knowledge of the attitudes towards the conservation of Danube sturgeons and the efficiency of current measures, WWF conducted research among all stakeholders – fishermen along the Danube and from the Danube Delta, government representatives, enforcement agencies,  caviar producing companies, and the general public.

Although the interviewed fishermen said they agree that sturgeons need protection if they are to survive, the research shows that fishermen regard the current fishing ban with reluctance. Still, 90% of fishermen said they obey it. What is more 87% of fishermen said that they want the total fishing ban to be revoked immediately, while 96% want to keep the tradition of sturgeon fishing.

On the other hand, enforcement agencies and decision makers consider that the fishing ban would be more effective if it is supported by stronger fines. However, decision makers believe that more studies are needed in order to extend the fishing ban beyond 2015.

83% of sturgeon fishermen believe that fishing for sturgeons is not a threat, while 67% believe that stocks are dwindling. 68% of them see no alternative to fishing. As for poaching, 65% of fishermen believe that both those who catch sturgeon accidentally and do not release the fish, and poachers are a threat to the species. Also, 94% of fishermen would cooperate with the authorities provided that they comply with the law themselves, but only 45% believe that turning in poachers to the authorities is effective, while 39% think that it is useless. More about this report, here.

Oana Vasiliu

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