EUSDR Priority Area(s): PA 4 Water Quality, PA 6 Biodiversity, Landscapes and Air & Soil Quality
Submitted by: PA 4
EUSDR PA 4 in cooperation with EUSDR PA 6 is very active on increasing the knowledge base on migratory fish species, including sturgeon – the Danube endemic fish species, and is looking for possibilities of re-establishing their migration routes. PA 4 supports international projects like the MEASURES project to restore ecological corridors for migratory fish or We Pass I and II projects to enable fish migration at the Iron Gates, and presented a brochure “Promoting Measures to Enable Fish Migration in the Danube River Basin” summarising the current knowledge. PA 4 is carrying out a study on effects of noise and waves on fish species and is planning to prepare a fish migration restoration document for the Upper and Middle Danube Region. PA 4 will also promote hydro-morphological measures to achieve good ecological status of waters needed for fish migration.
PA 4 Action Plan, Action 5 objectives:
- raising broad public awareness for the Danube sturgeons as flagship species for the Danube River basin and for the ecosystems and biodiversity of the Danube River basin as a whole;
- fostering sturgeon conservation activities including protection of habitats, restoration of fish migration routes and ex-situ conservation measures;
- closing knowledge gaps concerning monitoring of pressures and planning of measures for fish migration in coordination with PA 6.
There are two major barriers on the Danube River for migratory fish species – Iron Gates in Romania/Serbia and Gabčíkovo Water Structure/Dunakiliti in Slovakia/Hungary. Construction of fish passes in Iron Gates can serve as information base for construction of other fish passes in Danube River (e.g. Gabčíkovo, and upper Danube ones). Migratory Fish Flagship Process will make an effort to facilitate removing the fish barriers on the Danube River.
Need and (expected) impact
In 2021 PA 4 prepared the brochure “Promoting Measures to Enable Fish Migration in the Danube River Basin”. Currently, in 2022, PA 4 prepares two activities directly related to fish migration. It organises the fish migration working meeting on 12 October 2022 in Bratislava. It will provide the platform for discussion about behaviour of migratory fish species and about technical solutions of fish pass designs e.g. the Iron Gates and Gabčíkovo Water Structure. In addition, PA 4 facilitates the preparation of the fish migration document. The purpose of the document is to provide a database of relevant information on migratory fish restoration (e.g. methodologies, the investigation on behaviour of fish species; an overview of ichtyocenoses in the Middle and Upper Danube); and to estimate alternative technical solutions of fish pass design for specific migratory fish at Gabčíkovo Water Structure. Taking into account the fish migration restoration activities in the Iron Gates, the document will serve as the actual knowledge base for designing and constructing fish passes in the Danube River.
Migratory fish species (e.g. sturgeons) can spawn only in the river without barriers and borders, so this process will affect all countries on the Danube River. Therefore, conservation measures will be effective only in case they are applied at macro-regional level. Moreover, countries and operators of Iron Gates and Gabčíkovo Water Structure should closely cooperate for creating the most feasible solution for fish passes.
ICPDR; PA 6 – DSTF (Danube Sturgeon Task Force); related projects leaders, related hydropower operators (e.g. Water Construction, Slovakia, Hidroelctrica), experts on migratory fish protection in the Danube Region, experts in the field technical design of fish passes, PA 4 SG members, etc.
Regular cooperation with the mentioned organisations, ensured by trilateral and SG meetings, joint events.
Budget and Funding
The process has already been partly financed by implementation of the PA 4 relevant projects related to sturgeons. The transnational projects were financed by European Commission and Interreg Danube Transnational programme.
The new financing should be allocated for sturgeon conservation measures projects and processes (e.g. negotiations, meetings, conferences, workshops and public awareness raising campaigns).
- Plans: Fish migration restoration document (not finished yet), study on effects of noise and waves on fish species (not finished yet)
Andrea Vranovská, Priority Area 4 implementation team member, Water Research Institute, Bratislava, Slovakia – firstname.lastname@example.org