WE PASS - Facilitating Fish Migration and Conservation at the Iron Gates

S turgeon are migratory fish. This means that in order to reproduce they must travel further upstream in the Danube to their ancient spawning grounds. However, this important aspect of their life-cycle has been hindered by dams constructed along the river. Sturgeon are by no means the only fish species to be impacted but, combined with recent dramatic habitat loss and historic overexploitation, these species of sturgeon are considered to be among the most endangered groups globally according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. However, with concerted study and efforts, these iconic fish can not only be saved from completely disappearing, but can have their numbers brought back up to healthy levels all along the Danube.

Efforts to raise awareness were highlighted at the We Pass kick-off event held on 9 April 2019. In attendance were project partners, stakeholders, representatives of the Đerdap Hydroelectric Power Station, and members of the public. Mr. Ivan Zavadksy, ICPDR Executive Secretary, and Ms Edith Hödl, ICPDR We Pass Project Manager, officially opened a session seeking to explore the project in greater detail and kick off the public discourse on We Pass’ aims while highlighting its expected results. After detailed presentations on various aspects of the project, round table discussions were hosted directly with the public as an opportunity to ask questions and find out more about new opportunities offered by We Pass.

With similar and complementary programmes already in place across the region with which We Pass can combine efforts, there is hope that the project will become fully realised as a solid piece of the overall conservation puzzle that is the Danube River Basin's sturgeon and ecosystem on a whole. Getting the sturgeon over this single set of obstacles will truly help them to reoccupy their former home upriver and to again become an expected and iconic sight all along the Danube.



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