Fish After Fish
Sturgeons are the most endangered fish species in the world. Environmental and scientific organizations from ten European countries, situated along the riverbed of the Danube, combined efforts under the leadership of WWF to save one of Earth’s oldest species, which has remained unchanged for the past 200 million years. The stocking of the Danube with sturgeons is like a prayer that is not answered immediately. It is an orison for life, recited in silence by tens of thousands of small fish, which have to survive for at least another 20 years in order to reach sexual maturity and spawn their first offspring in the river. The conservation of the species is heavily dependent on local fishermen and communities, who must protect the river and release any accidentally caught sturgeons. Inhabitants of the nearby town of Belene and the region posed for the photos, briefly holding an aquarium with a small sturgeon in their hands.* The initial concept was to simply express an unequivocal symbol of protection and care, but the proximity to this ancient species united the participants and became a tool for engagement of the local communities. Just as several rivers conflate and increase the power of their flow, people can rally behind a beautiful cause. The river will continue to flow toward the sea, and one generation will replace another. Fish after fish. Generation after generation.
* Only sturgeons bred in artificial ponds were used for this project. The fish were transported within a special container that could maintain a constant temperature. The water was persistently enriched with oxygen and was replaced with new water from the Danube River every several hours. The fish spent only a few minutes in the globe-shaped aquarium, which is not recommended for fish raising, as it cannot provide the necessary conditions.