Fishing Circumstances on the Danube in Serbia - 1



Results and Discussion

Through analysis of statistical data taken from the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia from the period beginning in 1951, when the first catch data on freshwater fish species was recorded, until 2011, many changes in the organization and collection of data were observed. According to fish catch data statistics in Serbia recorded between 1951 and 2011, the number of reporting units has been changed many times. From 1956 until 1996 the number of reporting units in Serbia has decreased: there were 77 units in 1956, 35 in 1961, 33 in 1969 and 7 units in 1996 who reported annual catch numbers to the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia. In 2003, only three reporting units remained. Statistical methods used were changing till the year 2005, when electronic data archiving was introduced.

In the period between 1951 and 2010 the list of fish species collected and presented in statistical reports has been changed several times, which indicates that the composition of the ichthyofauna has changed and/or is changing the structure and abundance of certain species of fish or their importance on the market.

Until 1968 the Statistical Office collected catch data for species recorded in rivers, channels, and lakes by both recreational and commercial fishermen together. Species listed in the landing books made by each reporting unit were: Acipenseridae together (sterlet (Acipenser ruthenus), Russian sturgeon (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii), beluga (Huso huso)); pikeperch (Sander lucioperca); European catfish (Silurus glanis); carp (Cyprinus carpio); pike (Esox lucius); tench (Tinca tinca); secondary economically important fish; bleak (Alburnus alburnus); European eel (Anguilla anguilla); Black sea shad (Alosa immaculata) and other.

From 1969 recorded catch particularly from the Danube shows that species listed in catch were: Russian sturgeon; stellate sturgeon (Acipenser stellatus); beluga; sterlet; carp; Prussian carp (Carassius gibelio); grasscarp (Ctenopharyngodon idella); silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix); bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis); bream (Abramis brama); pikeperch; pike; European catfish; asp (Aspius aspius); ide (Leuciscus idus); zobel (Ballerus sapa); tench.

From 1977, three non-native fish species (Prussian carp, silver carp and bighead carp) became economically important for fisheries in Serbia.

In 2005 a change in the collection of the data was introduced and species recorded and presented in the catch statistics were: sterlet; Russian sturgeon; beluga; carp; European catfish; pikeperch; pike; grasscarp; silver carp; bighead carp; bream; tench; perch (Perca fluviatilis); barbel (Barbus barbus); Prussian carp; rudd (Scardinius erythrophthalmus); asp.

Since 2006 until now, species presented in the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia are: sterlet; Russian sturgeon; beluga; carp; European catfish; pikeperch; pike; grasscarp; silver carp; bighead carp; bream; tench; perch; barbel; Prussian carp; rudd; asp; chub (Squalius cephalus); nase (Chondrostoma nasus); rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss); Atlantic trout (Salmo trutta); huchen (Hucho hucho); European grayling (Thymallus thymallus) and other.

Fishing waters in Serbia are divided in 6 areas which are given to assigned users: public or private companies, fishing associations and fishing unions. Most of the fishery is concentrated on the Danube River. The Danube in Serbia is organizationally divided into 8 public and private companies. The focus of this study was to compare data about fishing activity on the Danube River in Serbia for 2008, 2009, 2010. The annual catch for 2008 was 67.56%, while in 2010 that percentage increased to 71. 49%.

The number of catches and landings can be considerably different, but only landings data are available at a global extent (Branch et al., 2011). In Serbia freshwater fishery catchments data accessible in the Statistical Office are mostly based on the landing reports made by the public or private companies which were assigned to manage particular water resources.

In Figure 1 the number of the fishery rangers, commercial and recreational fishermen in over the past three years were compared demonstrate the weakness of fishery monitoring and control measures. The number of commercial fishermen was stable (between 389 and 442) while the number of recreational fishermen has more then doubled (from 8525 in 2008 to 19981 in 2010). The number of fishery rangers needed to control the number of both groups of fishermen ranged from 58 to 81. Commercial fishing is an important economic activity and source of income for most fishermen. The number of commercial fisherman has decreased during recent years while the number of recreational fisherman has increased (Figure 1). Poaching and illegal activities are also increasing due to a poorly organised fishing sector which is subject to political and management changes. Since adoption of the Law on protection and sustainable use of fisheries (R. of Serbia official Gazette No 39/09) the number of commercial fishermen has dropped even more mostly due to increased licensing fees.


Figure 1: Number of the fishing rangers, commercial fishermen and recreational fishermen on the Danube River in Serbia in the years 2008, 2009, 2010 (source: Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia)