Sturgeon migration by-pass Iron Gates Iand II.


Sturgeon migration by-pass Iron Gates Iand II.

Organization: INCDPM - National Institute for Research and Development in Environmental Protection Bucharest (Romania)

To address Danube River connectivity for sturgeon migration, INCDPM will devise a strategy to help ultrasonic-tagged sturgeon pass upstream the Iron Gates I and II. This includes special solutions for each hydropower station and monitoring sturgeon movements and behavior. Monitoring will be conducted with three fixed gates using INCDPM's patented systems and boat-mounted VR-100 reception stations over 700 river kilometers.

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General Info

The activities focus on the Danube Delta, encompassing its flow into the Black Sea and spanning through Romania, Serbia, and Hungary. The Iron Gates Natural Park comprises 18 protected areas, including 2 Special Protection Areas in Romania designated under NATURA 2000. Hydro-technical constructions in the Iron Gates area have disrupted historical migration routes of anadromous sturgeon populations in the Danube. An innovative bypass measure is proposed to mitigate this disruption and restore these critical migration pathways.

What measures have been taken?

  • Scientific Fishing with Filter Nets:
    • Year-round scientific fishing in Romania (Black Sea to Iron Gates II).
    • Collecting metric and mass data on sturgeon populations.
  • Ultrasonic Monitoring in Serbia and Hungary:
    • Tagging sturgeon with INCDPM's ultrasonic transmitters.
    • Monitoring water temperature, depth, and migration routes.
  • Innovative Bypass Strategy Implementation:
    • Testing and validating at Iron Gates I and II.
    • Ensuring sturgeon migration route continuity despite hydro-technical constructions.

Environmental Impact

Wild Sturgeon Population Monitoring in Lower Danube:

  • Recovery trend is unsatisfactory.
  • Lack of information on migration routes verification.

Ban on Illegal Fishing Activities:

  • Ministry of Environment implemented a ban to limit the declining sturgeon population.
  • Points to potential natural recovery in Lower Danube and Black Sea in the long term.

Impact of Anthropogenic Pressures:

  • Anthropogenic pressures lead to contradictory results.
  • Anadromous sturgeon species do not migrate upstream of Iron Gates dams.
  • Significant reduction in historical migration routes and breeding habitat fragmentation.


The project centers around the Iron Gates region, aiming to implement an innovative bypass solution at the hydropower plants. It involves capturing wild sturgeon through scientific fishing, tagging them with ultrasonic transmitters, releasing them back into their natural environment, and monitoring their movements to evaluate the effectiveness of the solution.