Stop Carping On

18 Jun 2007

Rumanian Prime Minister Calin Tariceanu announced last Friday that, in an attempt to protect the natural environment in the Danube delta, his government intends to ban commercial fishing there.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site and ‘Reservation of the Biosphere’ since 1991, the delta is one of Europe’s most biodiverse regions, home to many endangered species and an important resting place for migratory birds.

This magnificent wetland shelters over 300 species of birds and numerous fish, from royal sturgeon to carp and perch. Its 1,150 botanic species range from sinuous lianas to water lilies

Threatened by pollution, poaching and overfishing (fishing licenses proliferate as a result of corruption at every level), the region is one of the poorest areas in Romania. Its population of only 15,000, many of whom live in villages of rudimentary reed huts, make their living from fishing, livestock breeding, and reed harvesting.

The Romanian government is now striving to shirk off the country’s traditionally poor environmental record to promote tourism in the area, where bird-watching and fishing trips are potentially major attractions.

Speaking at a news conference in the fishing village of Somova, Tariceanu said that, ‘We want to take radical measures. I hope next year at the latest we will ban all fishing outside of tourism and competitions … Commercial fishing endangers the biological balance. In three to five years, the area’s local fishermen will not be able to catch anything’.


Government of Romania

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