Negotin, May 21 – WWF Adria gathered local stakeholders and set up concrete steps toward founding a new NGO, temporarily named “Sturgeon Center” in Negotin. Agreements toward founding a new conservation hub is seen as a great step towards better engagement of the local community, not only in the activities of the “LIFE for Danube Sturgeons” project, but in the process of creating a sturgeon-based tourism Brand in the region.
The road map toward establishing a legal entity was announced in a meeting held in the local library “Dositej Obradović”, whose Director – Mr Milorad Grbović –will be the Sturgeon Center’s first President, working closely together with members of WWF Adria and ISKRIVA (Institute for Development of Local Potentials) business consultancy. The meeting was joined by representatives of Negotin Municipality – the Deputy President, the Head of Department for Economy and members of the Agriculture Advisory Body, the Krajina Museum and a local environmental NGO “Badem”.
The coordinator of the LIFE sturgeon project in Serbia, Mrs Vesna Maksimović, presented the study “Assessment of socio-economic situation and natural resources in fishing communities in Prahovo, Radujevac and Negotin” and outlined the possible work phases for creating the sturgeon-based tourism Brand.
Mr Goran Piperski from ISKRIVA shared insights on perspective business ideas for the local area, that could be put in a business plan and would have the potential at a later stage to lead to the actual establishment of the sturgeon-based tourism Brand, together with a permanent exhibition dedicated to sturgeons as a new tourism attraction in this region.
The new sturgeon-based tourism Brand will be an “umbrella” to various business ideas in the field of sustainable tourism in the local community and will be based on the idea of social responsibility and the sense of pride. Sustainability is important for every business idea, so the essence of the future Brand lies not just in profit for local communities, but also in “partnership” of sturgeons and people. The brand and its values will be aimed at protecting nature, driving waves of social changes, and strengthening livelihoods and resilience of local communities.
The new Sturgeon Center will also aim to mobilize youth from Negotin, especially students of economy, marketing or management that are currently away, studying all around Serbia. The future founders of the NGO believe that by developing business opportunities, they will create strong stimulus for young entrepreneurs and the local talents to return back to their native cities and contribute to the growth of the local economy.
“It is lovely to see that we’re really generating a working and enthusiastic ecosystem of sturgeon supporters here in Negotin. Working with the local community is the key to safeguard sturgeons from the threats they face on a daily basis, while fighting for their survival,” concluded Mrs Vesna Maksimović.