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Romania banned sturgeon fishing for the next ten years

In April 2006, Romania banned sturgeon fishing for the next ten years. Numerous international environmental organizations and institutions have stated that similar long-term recovery plans are needed, especially in the Caspian Sea, to prevent extinction.

In the new Order regarding the sturgeons preserving (No. 262/330/2006), the trade of wild sturgeons captured on Romanian territory is forbidden. Therefore Ministry of Environment and Water Management, which is national CITES Management Authority, will not continue to release CITES export permits for caviar and for sturgeons meat, from specimens captured in Romanian natural environment. This Order was published in the Official Publication of the Romanian Government, No. 385 / 4 May 2006.

Danube fishermen with unbaited hook lines

The Order contains following explanation:

“Considering the scientific studies that show a continuous decline of populations of sturgeon species, the worrying evolution of sturgeon catches registered in Romania after year 2000, actual unsatisfactory development of sturgeon aquaculture in Romania, extinction of sturgeon species from other European rivers during the last century, the importance and the international protection given to the endangered sturgeon species, such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), Bern Convention and relevant national legislation, the Minister of Agriculture, Forests and Rural Development and the Minister of Environment and Water Management issue the Order which, among other stipulations, state that:

1. in order to conserve sturgeon populations, commercial fishing of wild sturgeon species is forbidden for a period of ten years, starting with the date of publication of the present Order;

2. it is forbidden to trade in products and sub–products obtained from wild sturgeons captured in Romania;

3. it is forbidden to use any gears or equipments for capture of sturgeons, including stationary gill nets for sturgeons and unbaited hook lines, in fishing areas of natural waters of Romania. Any sturgeons captured accidentally shall be released in their natural environment, regardless of their condition."
Unbaited hook lines

Recently, CITES introduced a ban for export and import quota of sturgeon caviar from nature ( These left also our country without quota for the year 2007, which is understandable if we take in consideration fishing ban in Romania, country which is within the Regional group (BSSMAG) with largest annual quota and largest Danube sturgeon caviar trade. Black Sea Sturgeon Management Action Group was established on grounds of 12.7. CITES Resolution, which insists on establishment of regional agreements.

BSSMAG meeting (

It can be said that main causes for unapproved CITES quota are undeveloped and inefficient international cooperation and legislation. Legal instruments are not harmonized among countries, are partly insufficient and partly not implemented. Also, in 2004-2005, in situ information from the Lower Danube River by scientists and fishermen substantiated the critical situation of sturgeon stocks. This reinforces the urgent need for significantly enhanced basin-wide cooperation and mutual action plan for conservation and restoration of sturgeons in the Danube River.


Marija Smederevac

January 2007.

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