The Action Plan for the Conservation of the White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) along the Danube was created during this project and published by the Council of Europe / Bern Convention. A database brought together monitoring information from all Danube countries and is a long-lasting tool for coherent monitoring. Last but not least, an international conference on the White-tailed Eagle took place in autumn 2011 and brought together experts from all over Europe to discuss experience and future plans for protection of this fascinating bird of prey.
Regarding Sturgeons, two main activities were implemented: First, a public conference was organised in Tulcea (Romania) in 2011 to bring together international expertise on sturgeon conservation. Secondly, partners from the DANUBEPARKS Network, joined by universities and researchinstitutions, planned a Life+ project which was submitted in July 2011. Although the project was not selected, several partners are still active in this field.
The Sturgeon is a fascinating fish species: It is a cartilaginous fish with a history dating back to the age of dinosaurs and has had few changes in its appearance since. The biggest can reach a length of eight metres! Six sturgeon species were once native to the Danube River; by now at least one is believed to be extinct in the region and the others are critically endangered. There are many reasons for this worrying status: Overexploitation by fishing and for caviar, disruption of their spawning migration route by the Iron Gates dams, loss of habitats due to river regulation and the introduction of non-domestic sturgeon species by fish farmers. Many of these problems are shared by other fish species; however for sturgeon these pressures have even greater effects, as sturgeon mature rather late in their life – at ages of between five and ten years. This is why they need much longer to recover from negative effects than many other fish.