The Fishing Activity in the Biosphere Reservation of Danube Delta

Fishing is one of the oldest occupations of the Danube delta population and still represents an important economic activity engaging more than half of the active Delta population, presently authorized fishermen are working as commercial fishermen. To these fishermen are added the representatives of the resident families from the reservation, who have the legal right to fish for subsistence. We can state that this activity whether for commercial or subsistence purpose, concerns all resident families in the reservation.

The exploitation of the fishing resource from the natural aquatic pools is based on traditional methods, which were used since ancient times. The first fishing regulations, based on the experience of the past generations were formulated in the Medieval Era and later on during the Ottoman administration. State administration begin in 1895, under the guidance of Grigore Antipa, who elaborated the management principles for the fisheries on unregulated rivers and deltas, which are still used today. In 1896 is proclaimed the first Fishing Law, which stopped the fishing for endangered species and introduced new regulations founded on a good knowledge of fish biology, area potential and the role of the hydrologic factor.

Nowadays the exploitation of the fish resource is regulated through out the normative acts and the implementing rules of these acts for the administrator and the users of this resource in order to assure a durable use.

Classified after the aim of the catching in the reservation is practiced commercial, sportive, scientific and subsistence fishing. On the fish biology criteria it differences the sweet water fishery (delta, Danube river, lake Razim-Sinoie), the migrant marine fishery and the coastline fishery.

The commercial fishing is developed in many areas, but the fishing techniques are specific for each region.

 In the actual Danube Delta, the fishing activity is practiced all year round(excepting the 60 days prohibition period) and are being used both passive (pots and seines) and active (trawling and trammeling) fishing techniques. The dominant catches of this region are the crucian carp, flounder, carp, roach and also lobster and frog.

In the Razim-Sinoie system, for the fishing activity are used pots and seines in the hot season and trawls in the cold one. There is forbidden the use of gillnets and trammels, and the prohibition period is longer than the rest of the reservation, counting 90 days. The larger part of the capture is realized by trawl and consists in flounder, roach, crucian carp and perch.

  On the Danube river and its three arms the fishing activity can be done all year round, excepting the prohibition period (30 days in the border areas and otherwise 90 days), with seasonal escalation in certain areas(fishing holes) for the catch of migrant marine species. For this activity are used traditional methods and tools, being practiced both forms of fishing, active techniques like drift nets and passive techniques like gillnets, multiples fish hooks, seines and pots. The catches are mostly Danube mackerel, flounder, crucian carp, and Asian carp.

On the coastal and marine area of the reservation, passive fishing is being practiced with giant and semi-giant seines. Rarely the fishing activity is accomplished through out active techniques like small trawling boats in region located above the 20 m isobaths. The catches are usually small species (anchovy, sardine, horse mackerel, sprat), the truly valuables species (turbot, blue mackerel, Atlantic bonito, mullet and shark) are poorly represented.