Great success of ISS8

ISS8 Overview

The International Symposium on Sturgeon 8 took place from September 10th to 16th, 2017 in Vienna, hosted by the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna. The conference was jointly organized by the university’s` Institute of Hydrobiology and Aquatic Ecosystem Management together with the Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries Berlin and the World Sturgeon Conservation Society.

Principal Sponsors of the Conference were the Austrian Ministry of Environment, the EU-LIFE Programme, WWF, Aller Aqua and the City of Vienna.

The conference was attended by 310 participants from 30 countries. Topics focused on general ecology, status and management of populations, human impacts and aquaculture. Over 100 presentations in up to three parallel sessions, together with over 90 posters showcased the current scientific results on sturgeons and approaches toward their management. Beside the presentations and poster sessions, workshops on genetics, telemetry and modelling of populations, as well as a discussion forum on the development of caviar production and marketing completed the picture. Excursions offered the possibility for participants to  visit the hatchery station of the LIFE-Sterlet reintroduction project, the Nationalpark Donauauen, aquaculture facilities in Vodnany, Czech Republic and ongoing large scale river restoration in the Wachau Valley. Social get-togethers like the welcome reception in the Natural History Museum and the Conference dinner in the City Hall, along with the more casual students’ party and traditional fish barbecue “Steckerlfisch” facilitated informal exchange between the participants.  A post conference tour in Italy was organized, visiting some important sturgeon farms and caviar processing plants and the new fish pass recently built on the Po river.

On Friday the policy forum brought together representatives of policy, administration, scsience and NGOs being represented by the ICPDR, DG-Environment, WWF, WSCS and others. The discussion focused on international conservation efforts and case studies worldwide. In depth discussions of the topics raised and their potential applications mostly focused on the examples of the Danube River. It became apparent that on a global scale improvements on the status of some species and populations have been made since the last ISS in Nanaimo. However many species remain in critical status with continued trends towards further decline. Main drivers are insufficient enforcement and ignorant strategical planning not effectively addressing  continued poaching and illegal trade, as well as ongoing habitat degradation and development of hydropower. The results of the policy forum will be compiled into recommendations in the frame of the “Vienna Declaration”, to be published by the end of the year.

The venue was utilized for several meetings of working groups and institutions focusing on sturgeon conservation, such as WSCS, WWF, IUCN etc. during the conference days

The organizers thank all supporters and contributors to ISS8 and look forward to ISS9 in Chengdu, China in 2021.

Read: ISS8 Summary Report