The Estonian-Finnish joint project, "Restoration of the Baltic Sea sturgeon population in Estonian waters," is a significant step towards the recovery of the sturgeon population in the Baltic Sea. The project aims to fulfill the Baltic sturgeon protection and population recovery plan approved by HELCOM in 2020. The project will focus on increasing biological diversity in Natura 2000 areas in the Baltic Sea by restoring sturgeon populations in the Gulf of Finland and on the coast of Western Estonia. The project partners, led by RMK, will participate in solving issues related to the protection of Baltic sturgeon habitats and species in international cooperation. They will also develop measures to reduce by-catch of protected sturgeon and suitable methods for sturgeon monitoring and monitoring. The project budget is 1.1 million euros, of which the European Commission's support is 0.8 million, and the project will continue until 2027.
The project's significance lies in the history of the Baltic sturgeon in the Baltic Sea, which was destroyed in the last century due to the deterioration of the quality of spawning rivers, water pollution, and overfishing. The last specimen of natural origin was caught in 1996 in Estonian waters. The restoration of the Baltic sturgeon population is crucial to conserve biological diversity and ensure the continued existence of this species in the Baltic Sea. The project's implementation will reintroduce juvenile sturgeons into the River Narva and River Pärnu, the most important historical sturgeon spawning rivers in the region and launch measures to reduce by-catch of protected sturgeon. The project's success depends on the suppression of risk factors, such as the significant improvement of spawning river conditions and strict prohibition of fishing for this species. This ambitious project has significant prospects for successful implementation, and its results will have a positive impact on the Baltic Sea ecosystem's health and sustainability.
Total Eligible Budget: 1,128,011 €
EU Contribution: 846,007 €
EU Funding percentage – 74%
• Prioritize public outreach and education to raise awareness of the importance of species conservation in the Baltic Sea and promote support for restoration projects.
• Develop long-term monitoring plans for restored populations to ensure their continued success and identify any potential threats to their populations.
• Explore additional measures for reducing by-catch of protected species to prevent unintended harm and ensure the success of restoration efforts.
• Promote collaboration with local stakeholders, such as fishermen, to encourage sustainable fishing practices and reduce potential conflicts between conservation efforts and economic interests.
• Consider the potential impact of climate change on restored populations and develop mitigation strategies to ensure their continued survival.