MEASURES - Poaching, a constant threat for migratory fish


Sturgeon and other migratory fish species represent the historical, economic and natural heritage of the Danube. Furthermore, they are indicators of the ecological status of the river’s watercourses, especially concerning the function of the river as an ecological corridor. Yet, according to the recently released World’s Forgotten Fishes Report, populations of migratory freshwater fish have fallen by 76 percent since 1970, and mega-fish such as sturgeons by a catastrophic 94 percent.

Currently, there is a complete ban of sturgeon fishing in the Danube and the Black Sea. However, larger fish that swim upstream to reproduce still fall prey to poaching because of the high price their caviar and meat fetches on the black market.

Two sturgeon poaching cases discovered in Romania this month

On 4 March 2021, Tulcea County Border Police stopped two Romanian men in the village of Grindu for a control check. The men were discovered to be transporting a 140 kg, 2.5 metre Beluga sturgeon in a wagon. They declared that they had caught the sturgeon in the Danube and intended to sell it. The National Agency for Fishing and Aquaculture in cooperation with the Border Police released the fish back into the Danube.

Home searches carried out on 20 March in Tulcea, Galați and Crișan, Romania by the Danube Delta Police revealed five fishing and aquaculture violations. Among the 63 kilograms of seized fish and 17.3 kilograms of roe, 7 kg of sturgeon meat and 1 kg of caviar were discovered.

The police are conducting investigations into all of these cases. Fishing and selling sturgeon and sturgeon products is prohibited in Romania until 20 April 2021. The order to continue the ban is currently being discussed by the authorities.


On 21 March, state inspectors of the Kherson Region's Fish Protection Patrol detained two people during a raid at Dzharylhatsky Bay in the Ukrainian waters of the Black Sea. The patrol discovered Red Book listed endangered aquatic species in their possession; including 14 stone crabs, 3 turbots, 3 Beluga sturgeon and 1 Russian sturgeon weighing a total of 34 kg. The stone crabs were returned to the water alive, but the sturgeons were already dead. The violators will be fined 351,000 UAH (approx. 12,000 EUR) and face prosecution.

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