The Danube Sturgeon Task Force (DSTF) held its 4th meeting in Vienna this week. Sturgeon experts from several Danube countries, representatives of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region, of national administrations, ICPDR (International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River), IAD (International Association for Danube Research), organisations dealing with eco-tourism in the region and WWF gathered to discuss next steps for sturgeon conservation.
Participants agreed that there is urgent need for measures in the entire Danube River. Future projects should deal with monitoring the status of the last wild populations, identifying and protecting sturgeon habitats, the reopening of migration routes for a successful reproduction and the development of alternative income options for villages along the Lower Danube to mitigate overfishing.
Awareness raising is important and in this respect the LIFE project “Joint actions to raise awareness on overexploitation of Danube sturgeons in Romania and Bulgaria” is making a vital contribution.
Like WWF, the DSTF considers sturgeons a flagship species for the Danube River Basin and a valuable indicators of water quality and ecosystem health. But they are today on the brink of extinction due to overexploitation, disruption of spawning migration and loss of habitats.
The DSTF group was founded in 2012 in the frame of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region. It developed “STURGEON 2020”– a program for the protection and rehabilitation of Danube sturgeons – in order to coordinate and foster the conservation of highly endangered native sturgeon species in the Danube River Basin and the Black Sea.
The DSTF is open to participants who are actively involved in sturgeon conservation. It is currently coordinated by Dr. Cristina Sandu, who can be contacted for further information:
Dr. Cristina Sandu
Institute of Biology Bucharest, Romanian Academy