December 9, 2022

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Poaching of female sturgeons, a real problem in Romania. The fabulous amount for which a kilogram of black caviar is sold

Sturgeon poaching, a species for which in our country an indefinite ban has been imposed, takes place under the lenient gaze of the authorities.

An official document of the Chamber of Deputies shows that, as a result of the monitoring, in the last six years, the specialists have captured only males in a percentage of 90%.

Which shows that females carrying black eggs are constantly caught by poachers. Figures that should raise suspicions have had no impact among the control bodies.

Over 90% of the sturgeon caught in the last seven years were male

Between 2015 and 2021, marine biologists caught almost 450 sturgeons for scientific research. However, 90.6% were male.

The figures were made available to Parliament by the Ministry of Agriculture. As everyone knows that females are really valuable, being carriers of black spawn, the data made public raises suspicions.

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Alexandru Kocsis-Cristea, deputy: “They poach a lot. And they poach very valuable species of fish, which are prohibited for fishing, sturgeons. The black roe is much more valuable than the flesh of the fish.”

How much is a kilogram of black caviar sold on the black market

On the black market, a kilogram of black roe starts at 500 euros and can reach up to 13,000 euros. And it is the females that produce them that appear extremely rarely in the reports of anglers who have research permits.

Tudor Ionescu, Center for Aquatic Biodiversity: “It is a poaching assumption. Categorical! Because there’s no way so many females can disappear into thin air. There is no such ratio in the natural environment. Usually, in the natural environment, the ratio is one to one.”

Even the studies of research institutes in the field of fish culture show that the number of males should be almost equal to that of female sturgeon.

Neculai Peatriche, Galati Fisheries Research Institute: “We did these breedings on wild material and the results were somewhere around 45% females. A little more in the populations are males.”

And then how can the disproportion in the official data be explained, which suggests that, in the Danube, there are nine males to one female? The employees of the National Research and Development Institute for Environmental Protection in Bucharest are the ones who, for various scientific projects, fished in the Danube and completed such reports.

Gyorgy Deak, general director INCDPM Bucharest: “We have taken all possible measures to reduce possible poaching temptations by those involved in scientific fishing. Moreover, we have a signed contract with them, in case we catch them not doing things properly, they are kicked out and, moreover, a clearly written report is given to the police.”

A draft amendment to the Fisheries Act would make the sale of fish caught for scientific purposes punishable by two to five years in prison. The normative act was not submitted to a vote in any of the Chambers. But beyond that, the real poaching, which is wreaking havoc in the Delta, remains the big problem while the authorities are overwhelmed by the situation for the time being.

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