Via Pontica Foundation Honored Participants in the IV National Environmental Conference

Some of the Participants in the Conference


On 12.06.2020 at 17:30 on the open stage “Ohlyuva” in the Sea Garden, Burgas, was awarded prizes, certificates and diplomas to participants in the IV National Environmental Conference “Think Ecologically about the Future” – 2020.

Despite the complicated situation related to the quarantine for Kovid-19, the academic staff of the University “Prof. Dr. Asen Zlatarov ”did not give up his scientific performances. The Department of Ecology and Environmental Protection at the University has decided to replace the actual holding of its now traditional scientific conference on “Think Ecologically about the Future” with a virtual one. It was held entirely online in the period 1-3 May 2020. All those interested could follow its progress online via

The conference gave an opportunity for scientific expression not only to university professors and specialists with environmental competencies, but also to pupils and students.
The participants had the opportunity to present abstracts and scientific reports on the latest environmental issues of the modern world in the following thematic areas:

  • The role of cooperation in environmental protection;
    · Sustainable and environmentally friendly technologies;
    · Alternative energy sources to reduce dependence on fossil fuels;
    · Biofuels;
    · Meteorology and hydrology
    · Satellite monitoring on the environment;
    · Protected Areas;
    · Biodiversity;
    · Environmental monitoring;
    · Food monitoring;
    · Management of environmental projects;
    · Ecology of agriculture and industry;
    · Ecotourism and the ecological impact of tourism;
    · Waste management and recycling;
    · Waste treatment (factories, landfills).

Academics, students, teachers, pupils, experts and guests took an active part in the online conference. The best works were awarded prizes, certificates and diplomas.

For high school graduates, the diploma is equivalent to an excellent performance (grade Excellent 6) at a preliminary entrance exam in a general education subject. With this assessment, students who have prepared the awarded works can participate in the ranking for the specialties “Ecology and Environmental Protection” (full-time or part-time education) or “Ecology and Environmental Management” (full-time education).

The Via Pontica Foundation was also invited to take part in the IV National Environmental Conference and accepted the invitation with gratitude to the organizers.

Via Pontica Foundation awarded Joana Hristova and Yolina Radoslavova, graduates of AEG “Geo Milev” – Burgas, for their presentation dedicated to the population of Red-breasted Goose. The girls also received special advertising bottles and vouchers for visiting the Ecopark for Biodiversity and Alternative Tourism “Vaya”, where they will attend a birdwatching discourse.

See the excellent work of Joanna Hristova and Yolina Radoslavova:Червеногушата гъска_8

Via Pontica Foundation Supports Civic Participation in Local Governance


Part of the Via Pontica Foundation team took an active part in a round table presenting the results of analyzes and research on the project “Implementation of models and policies to promote civic participation for responsible, shared and dynamic governance at the local level.”

The event dedicated to the improvement of the interaction between the local government and the civil society in the development of policies at the local level was held on June 10, 2020 at 09:00 in the building of the Gallery “Georgi Baev”, Burgas.

The event is organized within the project “Implementation of models and policies to promote civic participation for responsible, shared and dynamic governance at the local level”, funded by the Operational Program “Good Governance” 2014-2020, implemented by the Association of Municipalities from Southeastern Region.



Representatives of the general public and various non-governmental organizations attended the forum. The moderator was Assoc. Prof. Dr. Haralan Alexandrov, who is engaged as an external expert within the project.

Among the most interesting conclusions from the analysis are the preference for an informal form of communication between civil society organizations and the municipality, as well as the growing expectations regarding the commitment of the municipal administration to all upcoming local initiatives. In addition, the Rules for Providing Funds from the Municipal Budget for co-financing of non-governmental organizations were presented.

Additional information about the project, the reports and the list of non-governmental organizations in the regions of Burgas, Stara Zagora, Sliven and Yambol can be found at the following link:


Today Is World Ocean Day



Our ocean is our future!



When we think of public health risks, we may not think of the ocean. Increasingly, however, the health of the ocean is intimately tied to our health. Some may be surprised to read that organisms discovered at extreme depths are used to speed up the detection of COVID-19, and probably even more to learn that, it is the environment that could give a solution to humankind.

This is one of the multiple reasons why we should celebrate World Oceans Day: to remind everyone of the major role the oceans have in everyday life. They are the lungs of our planet, providing most of the oxygen we breathe. The purpose of the Day is to inform the public of the impact of human actions on the ocean, develop a worldwide movement of citizens for the ocean, and mobilize and unite the world’s population on a project for the sustainable management of the world’s oceans. They are a major source of food and medicine and a critical part of the biosphere. In the end, it is a day to celebrate together the beauty, the wealth and the promise of the ocean.

To participate, make a pledge and find more information on the International Day, visit the UN World Oceans Day website–

As the challenges to the ocean continue to grow, so does the need for novel solutions and the people driving them.

To that end, the theme of UN World Oceans Day 2020 is “Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean.” Innovation—relating to the introduction of new methods, ideas, or products—is a dynamic term, and one that is fundamentally filled with hope.

The UN World Oceans Day celebration this year will take place as a virtual event produced in partnership with Oceanic Global.

The event will shed light on innovations from around the globe in areas of need that are both promising and proven, ones that instill optimism, and ones that have demonstrated the ability to scale effectively. It will also provide a platform to thought leaders of varied backgrounds, who are paving new paths forward for the health of our ocean and our planet.

The programming of the day and subsequent events taking place throughout World Ocean Week (week of 8 June 2020) will explore innovations across categories including technology, systems infrastructure, resource management, consumer products, finance and scientific exploration — and will outline how these innovations can be applied, their potential impact, and the resources needed to transform them into long-lasting solutions.

This year’s theme is especially relevant in the lead-up to the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, which will run from 2021 to 2030. The Decade will strengthen international cooperation to develop the scientific research and innovative technologies that can connect ocean science with the needs of society.

The Importance of the Ocean

Did you know?

Oceans serve as the world’s largest source of protein, with more than 3 billion people depending on the oceans as their primary source of protein

Over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods.

Oceans absorb about 30% of carbon dioxide produced by humans, buffering the impacts of global warming.

Join the UN Secretary General, experts and celebrities in this online event on June 8 from 10am to 5pm, and check other events around the world.

Portrait of speakers for the UN event for World Oceans Day

Related links


For 2020 World Oceans Day is growing the global movement to call on world leaders to protect 30% of our blue planet by 2030. This critical need is called 30×30. By safeguarding at least 30% of our ocean through a network of highly protected areas we can help ensure a healthy home for all!

Sign the Petition

Endangered Species in Europe: Facts and Figures (Infographic)

A nearly extinct Iberian lynx ( Lynx pardinus ) standing on a rock in Spaing


One million out of eight million species globally are threatened with extinction. Find out which and how many species in Europe are endangered or extinct.

Endangered species are plants and animals that are threatened with extinction. This is mainly caused by the loss and degradation of habitat, but also by among others pollution, climate change and invasive alien species. However, biodiversity is key for healthy ecosystems and human life.

In order to preserve endangered species, the EU wants to improve and preserve biodiversity. In a resolution adopted in January, Parliament called for an ambitious EU 2030 Biodiversity Strategy to address the main drivers of biodiversity loss, and set legally binding targets for the EU and its member states.

As the European Commission unveils its new 2030 strategy, learn more about endangered species and biodiversity loss in Europe.


Endangered Species in Europe


The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has created a European Red list of endangered species so that action can be taken to try and save them.

1,677 species  ; At least 1,677 species out of 15,060 assessed European species are threatened with extinction, according to IUCN

Of the 1,677 European species threatened with extinction, the most endangered are snails, clams and fish.

Over half of Europe’s endemic trees, including the horse-chestnut, Heberdenia excelsa and the sorbus are at risk and about one fifth of amphibians and reptiles are endangered.

The arctic fox, the European mink, Mediterranean monk seal, the North Atlantic right whale and the polar bear are currently among the most endangered mammals in Europe.

Pollinators are also declining. One out of 10 European bee and butterfly species is threatened with extinction.


Infographic on the most endangered species in Europe


Extinct Species in Europe


According to IUCN, 36 species have become extinct in Europe as of 2015, including many freshwater fish, several other Coregonus species (a type of salmon), the freshwater mollusc Graecoanatolica macedonica (a small freshwater snail unique to Lake Dojran in Greece and North Macedonia), and Pensée de Cry, a purple flower.

From the mammals, Aurochs (a type of large wild cattle) and the Sardinian Pika (a cousin of the rabbit) went extinct in the 17th and 18th century respectively.

Further research is needed to assess the situation, in particular of bees, marine mammals and fish.


NAFA Inspectors Again Found Illegal Fishing in the Waters of the Lake Vaya


Inspectors from the Executive Agency for Fisheries and Aquaculture (NAFA) in Burgas staged a crazy race with poachers in Lake Vaya. The employees caught three men with 8 nets full of carp.

The action took place around 7 pm, when the inspectors and volunteer workers received a signal for illegal fishing. They headed to the place indicated in the signal. Arriving at the scene, the inspectors noticed a boat with three people setting nets in the lake.

While the uniformed men release the patrol boat, the violators noticed the NAFA control bodies and immediately fled into the water. After a short race, they managed to escape and took refuge in a wooded area around the lake.

8 pieces nets were taken from the waters of the Vaya with a total length of 400 m. catching carp in them. The fish, 12 kg, was returned to the water, and the nets were seized with a statement of findings against an unknown intruder.



Criminal actions were also found during a joint operation by teams of RK Burgas and employees of the Executive Agency for Fisheries and Aquaculture (NAFA), with the assistance of the Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Interior – Burgas on May 12 this year. During a patrol boat inspection that began at 5:00 a.m. and lasted until 8:30 a.m., inspectors noticed gill nets in operation that contained carp and perpetrators who fled and left the scene.

5 plastic boats, one rubber one and nets with a length of 1550 meters were seized. The fish, weighed a total of 25 kilograms, was returned to the water basin.

The actions are part of a large-scale campaign against illegal fishing and poaching. Monitoring of compliance with the rules for responsible fishing and conservation of fishery resources continues. All citizens who have noticed an irregularity can call 112.

NAFA is grateful to the participants in the action, as well as to the employees of the Ministry of Interior for their cooperation and professionalism.



World Bee Day 2020


We all depend on the survival of bees!


Bees and other pollinators, such as butterflies, bats and hummingbirds, are increasingly under threat from human activities.

Pollination is, however, a fundamental process for the survival of our ecosystems. Nearly 90% of the world’s wild flowering plant species depend, entirely, or at least in part, on animal pollination, along with more than 75% of the world’s food crops and 35% of global agricultural land. Not only do pollinators contribute directly to food security, but they are key to conserving biodiversity.

To raise awareness of the importance of pollinators, the threats they face and their contribution to sustainable development, the UN designated 20 May as World Bee Day.

World Bee Day 2020 theme is “Save the Bees”!

The goal is to strengthen measures aimed at protecting bees and other pollinators, which would significantly contribute to solving problems related to the global food supply and eliminate hunger in developing countries.

We all depend on pollinators and it is, therefore, crucial to monitor their decline and halt the loss of biodiversity.



Bee engaged!

The recent COVID-19 pandemic has had an undeniable impact on the beekeeping sector affecting the production, the market and as a consequence, the livelihoods of beekeepers.

This year, World Bee Day will therefore focus on bee production and good practices adopted by beekeepers to support their livelihoods and deliver good quality products.


We need to act now

Bees are under threat. Present species extinction rates are 100 to 1,000 times higher than normal due to human impacts. Close to 35 percent of invertebrate pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, and about 17 percent of vertebrate pollinators, such as bats, face extinction globally.

If this trend continues, nutritious crops, such as fruits, nuts and many vegetable crops will be substituted increasingly by staple crops like rice, corn and potatoes, eventually resulting in an imbalanced diet.

Intensive farming practices, land-use change, mono-cropping, pesticides and higher temperatures associated with climate change all pose problems for bee populations and, by extension, the quality of food we grow.

Recognizing the dimensions of the pollination crisis and its links to biodiversity and human livelihoods, the Convention on Biological Diversity has made the conservation and sustainable use of pollinators a priority. In 2000, the International Pollinator Initiative (IPI) was established  at the Fifth Conference of Parties (COP V) as a cross-cutting initiative to promote the sustainable use of pollinators in agriculture and related ecosystems. Its main goals are monitoring pollinators decline, addressing the lack of taxonomic information on pollinators, assessing the economic value of pollination and the economic impact of the decline of pollination services and protect pollinator diversity.

Along with coordinating the International Pollinator Initiative (IPI), the FAO also provides technical assistance to countries on issues ranging from queen breeding to artificial insemination to sustainable solutions for honey production and export marketing.



How can we do more?

Individually by:

-planting a diverse set of native plants, which flower at different times of the year;

-buying raw honey from local farmers;

-buying products from sustainable agricultural practices;

-avoiding pesticides, fungicides or herbicides in our gardens;

-protecting wild bee colonies when possible;

-sponsoring a hive;

-making a bee water fountain by leaving a water bowl outside;

-helping sustaining forest ecosystems;

– raising awareness around us by sharing this information within our communities and networks;

The decline of bees affects us all!


As beekeepers, or farmers by:

-reducing, or changing the usage of pesticides;

-diversifying crops as much as possible, and/or planting attractive crops around the field;

-creating hedgerows.


As governments and decision-makers by:

-strengthening the participation of local communities in decision-making, in particular that of indigenous people, who know and respect ecosystems and biodiversity;

– enforcing strategic measures, including monetary incentives to help change;

– increasing collaboration between national and international organizations, organizations and academic and research networks to monitor and evaluate pollination services.


Vaya Ecopark Has Become Home to Three Swans Released by the Green Balkans Rescue Center


The three Mute Swans (Cygnus olor) confiscated from a property in the Ruse village of Ivanovo were released today in Lake Vaya near Burgas by employees of the Green Balkans Wildlife Rescue Center.

Mute Swans are beautiful birds with snow-white plumage and a red beak, in males with a large growth. The neck of the Mute Swan is thicker than that of the other swans. A characteristic feature is that it holds it in the shape of the letter ‘S’ and often, while swimming, slightly raises its wings. The only sounds it can make are fizzling and gently hissing. Very calm and brave bird with impressive strength. It can kill a fox, a dog or break a human arm with the punch of the wings or beak.

Swans are kept in a group and this helps them to protect themselves and thus be truly wild animals. This may have saved them in growing conditions other than wild.

The birds, which are a protected species, were raised illegally on a private property in the Ruse village of Ivanovo, for which a signal was received. The swans were confiscated at the end of January this year during a joint inspection by eco-inspection experts and police officers.

The Biodiversity Act explicitly prohibits the possession, transport and offering for sale of specimens of protected animal species. The case was handed over to the Ruse District Prosecutor’s Office, which instituted pre-trial proceedings, and the birds were housed at the Green Balkans Rescue Center in the town of Stara Zagora until a decree was issued for their release into the wild.



Specialists often choose the largest lake in Bulgaria, Vaya, for adaptation of wild birds in nature, because it is protected from encroachment – in 1998 the lake was designated as a CORINE place due to its European importance for the conservation of rare and endangered bird species, 2003 was declared a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention, and in 2005 the site was declared an Ornithologically Important Site by BirdLife International. The lake is home to 262 species of birds and an important intermediate point and habitat for a large number of waterfowl, birds of prey and sparrows on the migration route from Europe to Africa, Via Pontica.

“Here at the Vaya Ecopark for Biodiversity and Alternative Tourism, we have the opportunity to provide veterinary care and staff who understand that wildlife cannot be kept in captivity. It is enough for them to take care of every creature that has entered our territory with a smile. You know, in fact, once they’re released, they often come back to us, albeit for a while, as if to say thank you. And as we like to say: When nature responds to your care with a smile, then every effort is worth it “, shares Ana Yancheva, manager of the Ecopark for Biodiversity and Alternative Tourism Vaya.



“In addition, on the spot we have the opportunity to provide veterinary care and staff who understand that wild animals cannot be held captive. It is enough for them to take care of every creature that has entered our territory with a smile. You know, in fact, once they’re released, they often come back to us, albeit for a while, as if to say thank you. And as we like to say: When nature responds to your care with a smile, then every effort is worth it “, shares Ana Yancheva, manager of the Ecopark for Biodiversity and Alternative Tourism Vaya.





NAFA Employees with a Large-scale Action against Poachers near the Lake Vaya


The Executive Agency for Fisheries and Aquaculture / NAFA / has conducted another consecutive large-scale night action in the area of the Lake Vaya in Burgas region.

Vaya is located west of the central part of Burgas, between the neighborhoods of Gorno Ezerovo and Dolno Ezerovo and often becomes the subject of poaching. Even restrictive measures during a coronavirus pandemic do not stop fish poachers.



On May 2, 2020, in the hour range from 7:00 pm to 10:30 pm, inspectors of RC Burgas and employees of the General Administration of NAFA carried out a check on the shores and in the waters of Lake Vaya. In the course of the inspection, nets with catches in them have been found in working position. The 4300 m long mesh, with a mesh size of 100 mm, was seized with an ascertainment protocol against an unknown intruder, and 100 kg of carp caught were released and returned to the water.

Despite the current epidemiological situation, the Agency’s staff continue to carry out enhanced checks and surveillance to ensure compliance with the rules on responsible fishing and the conservation of fishery resources.


If irregularities are suspected, report to 112.




Meeting of Burgas NGOs


On March 10, at 17:00, a working meeting of Burgas NGOs was held in the Community Center of Hamalogika, Burgas. Via Pontica Foundation Project Coordinator attended the event, which was initiated by the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation. More than twenty NGO representatives from the Burgas Region participated in the consideration of issues, related to the promotion of the role of the non-governmental sector in Bulgarian society.
There were two main topics discussed: updating the Register of existing organizations on the territory of the municipality and discussion on the upcoming election of members of the Civil Society Development Council.

The Civil Society Development Council is an advisory body to the Council of Ministers, established on the basis of Art. 4 of the Non-Profit Legal Entities Act. The Council has the functions to develop and implement a policy to support the development of civil society in Bulgaria. Fourteen non-governmental organizations are expected to be included in its structure, which will work under the leadership of Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev. The focus is the process of creating, implementing and reporting on the Strategy for Supporting the Development of Civic Organizations. The members of the Council are yet to determine and vote.

All colleagues from the non-governmental sector agreed that it would be good practice for such meetings to be initiated on a regular basis so that they could work together on important and relevant topics related to policy-making and practice at national level in line with sustainable and responsible development of our country and society.


The Use of Plant Protection Products Is Restricted for Conservation Purposes of Bee Families


The use of Plant Protection Products (PPP) is restricted for conservation purposes of bee families. The changes aim at introducing more restrictive time constraints when performing treatments. This is envisaged by the Draft amendment of Ordinance No. 13 of 2016 on the Measures for the Protection of Bees and Bee Families from poisoning and the ways of carrying out plant protection, disinfection and disinfestation activities. Opinions and proposals on it may be submitted within 30 days.

Plant protection products identified as “Hazardous to the bees” will only be used during the dark part of the day with ground handling equipment. This will be done in accordance with the procedure for disclosure of plant protection, disinfection and disinfestation activities.

Any systemic action insecticides not identified as “Hazardous to the bees” will be used on the land or aviation technology from sunset until 2 hours after sunrise. Plant protection products other than those listed will be applied by sunset until 10:00 a.m. of the next day, with aviation or ground equipment.Low-risk, microbial-based PPP will be used with ground or aviation equipment without a time limit.

The amendments to the Ordinance provide for a ban on PPP treatment, disinfection and disinfestation preparations for flowering vegetation areas, pastureland, water areas and treatment outside the buffer zones designated when the PPP is authorized. The use of food bait substances for bees is prohibited, except in the case of the addition of repellents.

To improve the control over the use of PPPs, inspections will be launched by inspectors from the Regional Food Safety Directorates (RFAs) and the Regional Directorates of Agriculture. Including weekends, they will be available for unregistered processing alerts.

The amendments to Ordinance No. 13 also provide for an improvement of the notification mechanism through the establishment of an electronic platform for the disclosure of plant protection, disinfection and disinfestation activities. Through it, the owners of apiaries will be informed about upcoming treatments with ground or aviation equipment and take timely measures by them to protect the bee families from poisoning.

The proposals seek to ensure a better protection of bees and bee families by strengthening the control, regulation of all measures and procedures related to the protection of bees from poisoning.

Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry