At least 10 tons of fish is being stolen every day in Serbia

This is one of the main messages of Dragan Gmizić’s new short movie called „Grabbers“. The movie focuses on illegal fishing, the consequences to the fish stock in Serbia and all obstacles that environmentalists and inspectors from Ministry of Environmental Protection face on a daily basis to tackle this serious issue. The movie is a joint production  with Balkan Investigative Reporting Network and co-financed by WWF.

One of the reasons for the unlawful fishing practices to continue happening in Serbia is the fact that the water area of 50 square kilometers in Serbia is protected by only one fish warden. At the same time, the area is inhabited by fish with a market value of approx. €12 million, which makes it a particularly lucrative activity with minimal risks for the offenders. The movie shows actual footage of stolen fish being freely sold on the Serbian markets and in restaurants.

„Grabbers“ is not the first production of Gmizić on ecological topics. The journalist from Novi Sad already has several awards for his films on illegal hunting of protected birds in Serbia and the damage of mini hydropower plants in Western Balkans.

The movie “Grabbers” will be premiered on Friday, the 1st of November 2019, within the movie festival of the Association for Wildlife Protection (AWP) in Belgrade, Serbia. The screening will be followed by a discussion on illegal sturgeon fishing and all the adjacent problems stemming from that, such as the negative impact on Serbia’s unique ecosystem and the need for alternative income resources for fishing communities. The WWF’s sturgeon advocate and representative of Angling association of Vojvodina Ljubomir Pejčić – will lead the discussion, joined by Dragan Gmizić himself, Dušan Ognjanović – Head of the Department for the Protection and Sustainable use of Fisheries, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Nemanja Ivanović – Head of the Department for Control, Protection and Use of Natural Resources and Fisheries in AP of Vojvodina, Provincial Secretariat for Urban Planning and Environmental Protection.

WWF Adria in Serbia has been working on the issue of illegal sturgeon fishing for the past several years as part of the LIFE programme’s project “LIFE for Danube Sturgeons” (co-funded by the European Commission). The team of WWF has become one of the main pushers for change of the national law and the embedded harmful practices in the fish retail industry.

To find out more about the AWP’s movie festival in Belgrade and the premiere of „Grabbers“, visit the WWF Srbija’s Facebook webpage.