In recent years, the Po River has been in the spotlight because of a historic drought that has put much of the biodiversity associated with the river itself at serious risk. One of the fish that has suffered most from this problem has been the sturgeon. The sturgeon is a prehistoric fish that has been present on Earth for 200 million years and can live from 40 to 120 years, but today it is on the brink of extinction. Water pollution linked to industrialization, overfishing illegally to obtain its meat and caviar, and artificial damming of waterways, which prevent the fish from ascending in search of a suitable place to reproduce, are the main factors undermining its survival.

The Isola Serafini power plant is a hydroelectric power plant that produces energy by exploiting the drop created by a dam on the Po River that intercepts the two branches (one natural and one artificial) into which the river divides, creating this artificial island. The interruption of the river’s course about 300 km from its outlet into the Adriatic Sea due to the construction of the dam has disrupted the movement of fish species, particularly migratory ones, contributing to their decline and in some cases their disappearance. Thus was born the project related to the fish ladder (built near the dam), which allows the fish themselves, thanks to the generation of strong currents, to ascend the river and continue their lives along the waters of the Po. Nevertheless, over the years, very few sturgeon have been spotted ascending the ladder to continue their “journey” to the sea.

Relevant authorities and scientists from the University of Parma are working on a sturgeon reintroduction project within the Po River. Hundreds of specimens are released each year with the hope that a small percentage will manage to survive, thus managing to prevent the disappearance of a fish that is a symbol of the river. “Waterways” is a photographic work that chronicles the last two years of this project. It does so through the eyes of the sturgeon, recounting both the difficulties it faces since ovulation and the mistakes of the past that humans are trying to put an end to.


2024 | Kolga Tiblisi Photo Award – Shortlist Documentary Series

2024 | World Water Day Photo Contest– Finalist 

Screenings & Exhibitions

2024 | Kolga Photo Festival – Tblisi, Georgia

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