Romania bans sturgeon fishing for ten years


Article in Danube Watch 02/2006

Danube Watch 2 2006

Romania bans sturgeon fishing for ten years


a hand holding a banana The methods used for artificial propagation will be strictly controlled under the ban. Young sturgeons for restocking will be tagged before being released in the river.

The Romanian government has issued a ban on the commercial fishing of all wild sturgeon species (including ship, Danube, stellate, sterlet and beluga sturgeon) for a ten-year period. The order also bans the trading of products or sub-products obtained from sturgeon captured in Romania, and requires any sturgeon captured accidentally to be released, regardless of its condition.

The ban was ordered in response to concerns over the continuing decline of sturgeon populations and the extinction of other sturgeon species in Europe over the last century.

“We were beginning to see a trend in beluga sturgeon numbers that we’d seen a few years ago with the Danube sturgeon,” says Radu Suciu, Head of the Sturgeon Research Group at the Danube Delta National Institute. “If fish are well managed, the majority of the population should be young fi rst-time spawners,” explains Suciu. “Instead, the beluga sturgeons being caught in 2005 were between 25 and 30 years old — old fish, and there simply weren’t young fish born after 1990 surviving to maturity.”

The ban in Romania is a good start, but the Sturgeon Research Group will bring the data to the next meeting of the North-western Black Sea and Lower Danube Sturgeon Management Group, to ask fellow members Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro, and Ukraine to enact bans of their own. “We expect that once other countries see the data, they will adopt similar conservation measures,” says Suciu.

Kirstie Shepherd is a freelance journalist and the Editor of Danube
Watch. She has called the Danube River Basin home since 2000.