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January 26, 2022

RBDD Governor, Malin Musatescu: Danube Delta, on verge of fish bankruptcy

Governor of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve (RBDD) Malin Musatescu stated in an interview granted to AGERPRES that as far as the fisheries’ sector is concerned, the Danube Delta is on the verge of collapse and the fishermen’s desire to use gill nets in the Reserve is the greatest disappointment felt in the last eight months.

Malin Musatescu affirmed that the Delta appears as “a living organism in suffering” or “a horse at the end of its rope, hitched to a carriage with more coachmen. Each has a whip and beats the horse with no concern that the animal is close to collapsing. As far as the fisheries’ sector is concerned, the Delta is on the verge of bankruptcy. Curbing the fishery toll, the anti-poaching fight without restraints, repopulations, renaturation so as to increase bodies of water are the main actions that we should be taking. Without these, there is no future. On the surface, the Delta does not look different from the two positions. As governor, though, one has the possibility to probe the abyss of the Delta. So one better understands how the Delta’s natural potential has been degraded as compared to what we took over in 1990 from the communist regime, in order to set up the Biosphere Reserve,” Musatescu affirms.

According to the RBDD governor, we already have two generations from the Delta-natives born in a local environment in which poaching and bypassing the law are the only solutions to lead a bountiful life. And this given that authorities haven’t done much in 27 years to provide chances for occupational alternatives to the direct and primitive, unsustainable exploitation of natural resources.

The biggest disappointment since taking over the mandate is “gill nets, which, under the present circumstances I consider a fishing device with a negative impact on fish live stock. Upon discussions with the fishing federations we haven’t’ reached a common ground regarding the restriction of this type of fishing nets. Moreover, the federations want the use of gill nets all through the fishing season not just starting with September, even if they request the enlargement of the nets’ meshes. Or, the Reserve does not condone that. So temporary protection measures are out of question. Momentary interests are more important for those who exploit the fish reserve.”

Drawing a comparison with Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, the RBDD governor says “it is the perfect example for following the effects of massive, accelerated anthropization on a wetland area. Whatever remains out there has no relation to the Vietnamese Delta of 50 years ago due to the two activities, namely agriculture and urbanization. The Vietnamese authorities are currently struggling to carry our renaturations in view of establishing some strictly protected areas meant to enter the tourism circuit. The path back to nature is strenuous but not impossible and the Vietnamese are determined to pursue it. As many as 17 million people live in Vietnam’s Delta and it is easy to understand the anthropic pressure on the delta ecosystems of Mekong river. The Danube Delta, on the other hand, has the lowest population density in Romania, but the anthropization rate has recorded in the last years an upward trend. If we take into account the fact that the Danube delta population has reduced by half in the last 27 years and the surface of township surface has increased three times, we understand we already have a matter of logic. It is clear the population is not the issue but the activities getting out of control.”

Musatescu further states that “there are constant unclogging activities which unfortunately don’t keep up with the the rhythm of the sediments’ amount brought by the rivers that bear the burden of the massive deforestations of mountain slopes and which are further loaded with suspensions from the hill area due to abusive sand exploitations from the lower riverbed.”

For 2018, Musatescu has in mind “a local fish market, a Commissariat to strike hard poachers and illegal fish traffic and the launching of projects with European funding that we already have in our portfolio. Alongside unclogging, these projects are about finding shelter for injured animals, the salvaging of the European mink population, introducing Caraorman Forest into the tourism track following the Letea example. I believe it is highly important to enhance the extent of the local population’s education with regard to durable activities, the protection of the natural resources and the need to work closely with the Reserve’s Administration which holds the development of the local communities, together with the protection of the Danube Delta’s natural patrimony as its priority.

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