site.btaFirst Sturgeon Protected Area in Bulgaria Helps Major WWF Project
A protected area near the village of Vetren and around the Sreburna Lake will help preserve the sturgeon in the Danube, WWF Bulgaria said. An order of the Ministry of Environment and Water explicitly forbids any extraction of aggregates from the river bed, and dredging of the river bed. Dumping of waste, construction of hydraulic structures, disturbance of natural hydromorphological processes, as well as diversion of water courses or closure of the river side arms in the section are also not allowed.
The "Sturgeons - Vetren" protected area, not far from Silistra, is the first protected area in the country aimed at preserving the habitats of the critically endangered sturgeons, which have survived for the last 200 million years but are on the verge of extinction today, WWF said.
Sturgeon is the main conservation target in the protected area, whose young have chosen this stretch of the river as a feeding and resting place on their hundreds of kilometers long journey to the sea. In addition to sturgeons, however, 40 other species of fish are found in this small section of the river, half of which are included in the Red Book of Bulgaria.
WWF classifies sturgeon as the most endangered group of species in the world. That is why the WWF team is working to protect their habitat on the Danube as a priority. It monitors the entire length of the river from Novo Selo to Silistra, studying the tracks of the last surviving sturgeons in their natural habitat on the territory of the European Union. To help their declining populations, conservationists have released more than 77,000 tagged Danube sturgeon, Russian sturgeon and belugas into the Danube over the past nine years.
Today, sturgeons face a range of risks they have never faced before in their long history of survival. The construction of dams, dykes and hydroelectric power plants, as well as the extraction of aggregates from the river bed, are placing insurmountable barriers along their migratory route, depriving them of food and leading to habitat fragmentation. Together with water pollution and poaching, these activities threaten to lead to the complete extinction of sturgeons in the very near future, WWF said.
Currently Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and Serbia have imposed is a complete ban on sturgeon fishing in the Danube and the Black Sea. Any wild sturgeon product is illegal and harms both the few remaining sturgeon populations and the future of local fishing communities, warns said WWF, which is launching the second phase of its One Home. One Future campaign dedicated to the conservation of wildlife in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian News Agency (BTA) is a media partner of the campaign.
The campaign focuses on restoring habitats that provide homes and food for diverse populations of key ecosystem species. Through the campaign, WWF aims to help build a future where people live in harmony with nature and its inhabitants.