Sturgeons are ancient fish of the northern hemisphere, which have thrived for more than 200 million years on this planet. They have survived several climate changes more severe than anticipated today. Once well-thriving, sturgeons have become highly endangered and most species are on the brink of extinction. Because of their longevity, sturgeons are considered a model species, integrating short-term natural and man-made changes over a long life-cycle, thereby serving as an excellent indicator of the success of aquatic resource management. Any efforts to save this species require integrated and cross-border management approaches.
It is for this reason that the World Sturgeon Conservation Society (WSCS) was founded in 2003 as a nonprofit organisation to act as an international forum of scientific exchange for sturgeon conservation. The Society links the few experts world-wide to join forces effectively, providing the expertise needed to prevent these species becoming extinct.
The Society’s vision is to see sturgeon populations thriving once again in their entire native range. The Society hopes through its activities to enhance the understanding of species protection across borders to foster the survival and sustainable use of these natural treasures. The Society promotes cooperation with national, regional, international, inter-governmental organisations, educational institutions and NGOs. To achieve its objectives, WSCS acts as a worldwide umbrella for local and national sturgeon organisations.
The Danube watershed and the Black Sea are model areas with five native sturgeon species in URGENT need of stringent and immediate conservation measures. The Society is particularly concerned about habitat degradation and severe river fragmentation, which critically blocks access to spawning grounds.
WSCS, therefore, welcomes the initiative by the ICPDR and the Danube Sturgeon Task Force (DSTF) to vigorously address these key issues. We are pleased to see these topics being addressed in this issue of Danube Watch.
The time for lip-services is over. Serious action is required now. We are fully prepared to join forces with all organisations and individuals in the Danube region to turn the tide.
For more information on the activities of the WSCS, please visit www.wscs.info.