Grigore Antipa And The Danube Delta

Grigore Antipa was one of the most brilliant students of Professor Ernst Haeckel of Jena (the great promoter of Darwinism) and later became a scholar with varied scientific interests who had outstanding results in his work that made him famous all over the world.
The young biologist, who had just returned from his studies abroad, was received by King Carol I in a private audience in 1892. He presented his research projects and his plans of giving value to the hydrographic system of Romania with such enthusiasm, clarity and in such a perfectly logical form that the King was deeply impressed and, on the very same day, suggested the Minister of Agriculture, Petre Carp to appoint Grigore Antipa General Manager of the State Fisheries. The results were soon to follow. In 1895 Grigore Antipa published "Studies on the Fisheries of Romania", the result of three years of careful and minute research. In the same year, he drafted a new Act of Fishing, including the regulations for its application and a justification act, accompanying it. As their irrational exploitation had already transformed the great lakes of the Delta in a series of worthless marshes, Grigore Antipa introduced a plan for hydraulic engineering works in the region that he implemented with the help of engineers Mihai Roco and Ion Vidiaşcu. The Dunavăţ was the first channel that was dug in 1907-1908; it was 27 kilometers long and it connected Lake Razim to the Danube. The results were soon to prove spectacular as in only a couple of years the fish production of Lake Razim increased from 380,000 kg to 3,600,000 kg. Greatly encouraged by this, Antipa asked the Hydrological Service that he was leading to cover the entire Delta region with a network of channels that revived the long lost fertility of the great Delta area. In 1914 Grigore Antipa was removed from his position in spite of the great works that he had published and the extraordinary results he had achieved. For the scientific world of Europe he still remained the ultimate authority in the problems of the Lower Danube and of the Danube Delta as well as in the fauna of the region, particularly the fish, from herrings and grey mullets to the great sturgeon. 

by Alexandru Marinescu