3.1.8 Case study: Effects of Đerdap Gorge on fish catch in Danube

Institution/Author: Environmental Protection Agency/Slaviša Popović

The hydropower and navigation system “Đerdap 1”, a complex and multipurpose facility, was built on the 943 rkm of the Danube from the mouth of the Black Sea. The largest hydro-technical structure on the Danube, with a total length of 1,278 meters, is completely symmetrical and designed so that each country (Serbia and Romania) use same parts of the main facility, which are maintained and used in accordance with the agreements and the conventions on construction and exploitation. Hydropower system “Đerdap 2” is the second joint Serbian-Romanian power plant on the Danube. It was built on 863 rkm of the Danube from the mouth into the Black Sea. Both power plants produce about 20% of the electricity produced by “Elektroprivreda RS”. However, the construction of dams on the Danube resulted in a significant negative effects, primarily on the sturgeon species, which could no longer sail upstream.

Catches of Acipenseridae species and eel are observed as an effect of two dams building in Danube. After the construction of Iron Gate 1 (1970), catch of eel has not been registered. Catch of Stellat sturgeon significantly decreased after the construction of Iron Gate 1 and almost disappeared after Iron Gate 2 (1984). Catch of sturgeon and beluga increased after the construction of Iron Gate 1, but significantly decreased after Iron Gate 2. Fish catch of Acipenseridae species had been registered until 2002, when Serbia ratified CITES Convention. Since 2009, almost all Acipenseridae species have been under protection and catch is forbidden.

Picture 1: Fragmentation of the river Danube sturgeon and Beluga
Picture 2: Fragmentation of the river Eel and Stellat surgeon