The high level event was jointly organized by the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR), the Danube Sturgeon Task Force (DSTF) and the EU Strategy for the Danube Region – Priority Area 06 (Biodiversity), and took place at Vienna International Center, on 2 December 2015, in the frame of the EUSDR START project STURGENE.

The meeting provided the opportunity to discuss the topic of sturgeon conservation with representatives of European Commission DG ENV, CITES and fishery authorities of the Lower Danube countries, water management authorities, environmental NGOs such as WWF, the International Association for Danube Research (IAD), the World Sturgeon Conservation Society, the European Anglers Alliance (EAA), to present the output of STURGENE project and agree on future measures for sturgeon conservation in the up-coming period.

A series of concerted measures were highlighted as urgently needed in the Middle and Lower Danube countries, such as: (1) extension of sturgeon fishery ban, accompanied by compensatory measures for underprivileged sturgeon fishermen, (2) enforced control of illegal fishery, (3) elaboration of coordinated National Action Plans for Sturgeon Conservation, (4) transnational in-situ monitoring program of sturgeons, (5) feasibility studies to re-establish migration at the Iron Gates dams.

The project STURGENE contributes to the implementation of Program Sturgeon 2020, Key topic 4 (ex-situ conservation), and the roadmap elaborated within this project highlights the priority measures required in the Danube River Basin:

  • Establishment of an international consortium, with governmental representatives and scientists, to lead the ex-situ conservation program
  • Feasibility study for in-situ conservation, as a basis for the ex-situ conservation program
  • Genetic inventory of captive sturgeons to select suitable candidates for future restocking programs
  • Establishment of a pilot facility for migratory species to secure most valuable sturgeons
  • Rescue program for Russian sturgeon

The Fish Expert Group of the IAD will contribute actively to the implementation of these measures through an intensive cooperation with DSTF and international sturgeon experts, by launching joint research/conservation projects across the Danube River Basin.

Raising public awareness will play a major role in the success of sturgeon restoration program.

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