Fishing Circumstances on the Danube in Serbia

 Smederevac-Lalić Marija1, Višnjić-Jeftić Željka1, Pucar Milica1, Mićković Branislav1, Skorić Stefan1, Nikčević Miroslav1, Hegediš Aleksandar1

1 Institute for Multidisciplinary Research, University of Belgrade, Kneza Višeslava 1, Belgrade, Serbia


A relationship between the human population, organisms and the environment in a sustainable manner should form the basis for freshwater fisheries management worldwide. Fishing in Serbia has been a tradition for centuries. Most of the fishing is concentrated on the large rivers such as the Sava and Danube. This research of fisheries in Serbia mainly deals with catch statistics and the importance of fishermen commitment in the implementation of management strategies. The research involved collecting and analyzing data on fishery statistics and data collected from the fishermen, as well as, analysis of freshwater fisheries management, exploitation of fishery resources and legislation. The results of this research can be used as the foundation for better future management strategies in Serbia which should adopt an ecosystem approach.

Keywords: fish species, fisheries, catch, statistics, Danube, Serbia





Freshwater fisheries supply only about one-fifth of the world's total fish catch. Worldwide economic importance of freshwater fisheries is decreasing. Harvesting of wild fish stocks is estimated as uneconomical on the global level.

Fisheries management aimed at sustainable exploitation can influence human behaviour. In the last decade widely proposed methodology by many authors (Valbo-Jørgensen & Poulsen, 2000; Niesar et al., 2004; Haapasaari et al., 2007; Sekhar, 2007; Silvano & Valbo-Jørgensen, 2008; Branch et al., 2011) includes fishermen opinions, perceptions, behaviour, within assessment models designed to evaluate the impact of different management measures on the stocks.

Usually successful ecosystem-based fisheries management consists of effective enforcement of existing laws and regulations, fishing bans, catch limits, size limits, and habitat improvement, but it should be adapted to the particular circumstances in each country. Captive breeding and restocking are often used to rebuild depleted populations of fish, and aquaculture is becoming more important. Aquaculture is presented as a tool to displace the commercial harvesting of wild stocks.

The inland waters of Serbia, according to Simonović (2005), comprise of 94 species of lamprey and (actinopterygian) bony fishes. One third of the species is attractive for fishing and 39 of the species are protected under the fisheries legislation through permanent or temporary seasonal closures, and restrictions such as minimal landing size, and daily limit. The Danube River Basin holds between 75 and 85 fish species and is the largest and the only one where commercial fishing is allowed in Serbia (Smederevac-Lalić et al., 2011).

The Danube River Basin region is comprised of a largely rural population and fishing plays an integral part in peoples' livelihoods, therefore, most households in the villages near the river will depend on fishing to some degree.


Material and methods

The study of fisheries on 588 km of the Danube River flow in Serbia was conducted using different methods and analyses. Research activities included field surveys and assessment of relevant literature and data on fishing and fishery statistics. Statistical data on fishery statistics exist since 1948. Data were kept in written form since 2005 when electronic database was established.

From 2006 until 2010 data about fishery has been taken from already prepared electronic databases. Common and Latin names were taken according to Kottelat & Freyhof (2007).

Interviews were used to collect data from fishermen about fishing activity. This kind of methodology is widely applicable when stock monitoring data are insufficient. Questionnaires were prepared in cooperation with the fishermen. Survey and assessment of data collected through interviews and questionnaires of commercial fisherman provided socio-economic, demographic and fish catch information along with perspectives related to problems and potential solutions.