Europe’s unrivalled wetland
The massive productivity of the many water habitats here has led to the delta harbouring the largest number of fish species anywhere in Europe. Flagship species of which of course are the four species of sturgeon, which once used to wander the entire length of the Danube river all the way up into Germany. The sturgeons have been critically endangered for decades, but fishing bans and reintroductions are now possibly slowly making a difference.
As in many other areas of Europe, traditional farming based on livestock has become unprofitable. The fishing-farming communities here are amongst Europe’s poorest and they are looking for new, alternative sources of income for modern times. Tourism is already reasonably developed in parts of the delta, with several local tour operators, a growing capacity and infrastructure located in the regional hub Tulcea, and relatively good standards of accommodation increasingly provided within and on the periphery of the delta. With a very rich history dating from ancient times to the present day, the delta and its surroundings offer a multitude of historical remains from Roman, Greek, Byzantine and Ottoman periods. The “wilderness” concept has an interesting potential of further profiling the Danube Delta both within Romania, Ukraine and abroad. Here lies the need to better involve the local communities and authorities in the process and its associated economic opportunities.