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with stakeholders including governments, various Commission services, regional bodies, and the European Central Bank. At the core of the strategy lie four pillars: transport; environment; education and training; and security; each of which is further subdivided into distinct fields of action. In April 2013 the European Commission presented a report to the European Parliament and the Council among others, reviewing the EU Strategy for the Danube Region. The report points out that for the first time a region that has long been marred by violent conflicts now has an operational structure to solve regional challenges in a spirit of cooperation. The EUSDR has been operational for 18 months during which time it has promoted concrete transnational projects, developed a wideranging cooperation platform, supported the coordination of different national and EU policies and funds, as well as highlighted the political importance of the region. While these achievements demonstrate the potential of the EUSDR, the report also made recommendations that would ensure that work would continue on the main issues facing the region.

Projects that restore water quality also benefit fisheries In Romania EUSDR has given new momentum to existing projects such as the building of a bridge linking Bulgaria and Romania. The two countries will also work together and share equipment with regard to maintaining the Danube waterway, which foresees monitoring water depth and signalling navigation routes in shallow waters. Romania also has a cross-border programme with Serbia that is increasingly aligned with the Danube Strategy to create greater impact and 42

Eurofish Magazine 3 / 2013

achieve better results. Dr Simion Nicolaev, Director of the National Institute for Marine Research and Development, is of the opinion that the Danube Strategy will benefit Romania in different ways. Under the environment pillar, one of the priorities is to restore and maintain the quality of water. One of the ways to achieve this is by further strengthening Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) and Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) practices on the western shores of the Black Sea. This is meant to simultaneously address water quality issues in the Danube River and the western shore of the Black Sea. As the Danube River is the most important tributary for the Black Sea and any actions taken within the Danube River Basin will influence the Black Sea marine environment. In this respect Integrated Coastal Zone Management will address the area at the interface between land and sea, while Maritime Spatial Planning will focus on the activities implemented at sea. Dr Nicolaev also points out that coastal erosion is a very important issue that should also be addressed as the problem stems from the Danube River. Drastically reduced transport of sediment from the river to the Black Sea is one of the main causes of coastal erosion. The Chilia arm of the Danube is responsible for the main part (60) of the total inflow and sediments and dam building activities in the Sulina area prevent the transfer of sand from the northern to the southern area. A project could, for example, carry out an assessment for restoration of the sediment balance in the Danube coordinated between the different countries in order to identify and implement the best solution. More generally, Dr Nicolaev feels that it is important to take into account

Dr Simion Nicolaev, Director, National Institute for Marine Research and Development “Grigore Antipa”.

the fact that actions carried out on a river, such as building a dam, or even dredging, may have an impact hundreds of kilometres later. The assessment would also assist in the understanding and prevention of flooding. Usually at the end of winter and in early spring the volume of water in the Danube increases significantly producing flooding. In the distant past there were meadows which could absorb all this water, but these no longer exist, says Dr Nicolaev, and so to reduce the flooding, dams were built on the river. But these just transfer the risk of flooding further downstream. Dr Nicolaev argues for the creation of wetlands which act as a buffer when the river floods and which can be used for the cultivation of crustaceans, plants or fish fingerlings.

Blocking migration routes affects fish reproduction

fish migration in the Danube river basin. Along the Danube 900 points have been identified that prevent fish from migrating. Under the Danube River Basin Management Plan, 108 migration aids have been established, but these need to be expanded. The Sturgeon Action Plan, an international plan for the conservation of sturgeons in the Danube River Basin, also needs to be fully implemented. One of the reasons for the reduction in sturgeon (and other fish) numbers is the presence of dams on the Danube such as the Iron Gate hydroelectric dam between Romania and Serbia, which prevent the fish from migrating and hence reproducing. A feasibility study to assess the possibilities of fish migration through the dam is another project proposal under the environment pillar of the EUSDR.

Other proposals include reducing the number of interruptions in water continuity to facilitate

Eurofish magazine 3 2013  

This issue covers Romania and reviews the ESE in Brussels. The Aquaculture section looks at new candidate species.

Eurofish magazine 3 2013  

This issue covers Romania and reviews the ESE in Brussels. The Aquaculture section looks at new candidate species.