120 delegates of the scientific community, fisheries, water and environmental administrations, and representatives of civil society from Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, Turkey, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Canada and the European Commission came together to attend the International Conference “Conservation of Danube Sturgeons – a challenge or a burden” in Galati (Romania) last week. This is the biggest discussion in the past 30 years of sturgeon conservation and its challenges in the region of the Danube Basin and the Black Sea.
Among the main objectives of the conference was to elaborate key messages to decision makers in all relevant institutions and the respective stakeholders as a basis for shaping future actions and the way forward to save sturgeons from extinction. These link to the “Galati Declaration” on Sturgeon Conservation in the Danube Basin and the Black Sea, which was unanimously adopted by all conference participants in attempt to require follow-up sturgeon conservation activities across countries and sectors on all relevant levels.
To ensure the success of recovery initiatives on sturgeons stocks, concerted actions of all parties at the Black Sea are also required, such as:
- Determination of stock assessment methods;
- Improving & enhancing breeding grounds;
- Preserving their natural habitats;
- Restocking programmes along the coastal sea zones.
An immediate need is to prolong a long-term fishing ban and to strengthen enforcement in the Danube and the Black Sea region. Special deliberation was held upon protection from further losses of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, such as poaching and by-catch. Some of the “LIFE for Danube Sturgeons” experts, who were present in Galati, took the opportunity to underline that fishing bans and conservation efforts have to be maintained on a long-term basis due to the late maturity of sturgeons and the resulting long life cycles.
Galati Declaration can be found under Project Materials on this website as well as on the official website of the conference: www.sturgeon.ugal.ro