On 11th May 2004, the Ukrainian Government officially launched the construction of a canal to aid shipping through the Danube Delta. The actual digging started on 16 May. The Government has chosen a route called the Bystroe Canal that will cut through the heart of the Ukrainian Danube Delta Biosphere reserve. This part of the Delta is regarded as the most ecologically highly valuable part of the internationally renowned Delta. Up to eight alternatives have been suggested for the route of the canal including two suggested by a special Ramsar and UNESCO mission to the Delta. The Government of the Ukraine proposed to use the canal to reignite the shipping industry in the Delta as a solution to the unemployment problems in the closed Delta ports. Ships at present have to access through the Delta along the Sulina Canal in Romania. The Government of Ukraine claims that the use of this route costs them billions of dollars per year in fees. The construction of the canal that has begun will have a severe negative impact on both the ecology and the socio-economic situation in the Delta. The action by the Ukrainian Government demonstrates a serious lack of commitment to international conventions that Ukraine is signalatory to, breaks international laws and has shown that Ukrainian Government is prepared to renege all promises made to protect the Delta.