American Oceans

Are Sturgeon Endangered?

A group of extinct fish species known as sturgeon have existed for more than 200 million years.

swimming sturgeon in the nature

These fish have bony plates instead of scales and a long, thin body, which gives them a distinctive appearance. They are also highly prized for their eggs, which are used to make the expensive meal caviar.

However, many sturgeon populations worldwide are declining, raising questions about their conservation status despite their widespread popularity and cultural value. Are sturgeon endangered?

The causes of sturgeon’s extinction, the state of various sturgeon species, and the steps being taken to preserve this amazing fish will all be covered in this article.

Reasons for Endangerment

Sturgeon are at danger of extinction mostly because of habitat loss, overfishing, and pollution.

beluga sturgeon huso huso species in sea basins

Sturgeon populations are greatly threatened by habitat degradation because they need particular ecosystems, such clear, moving rivers, to survive.

Human activities, such as the building of dams, the removal of water, and pollution, have caused the destruction or degradation of many of these habitats.

Sturgeon numbers have decreased as a result, making it more challenging for them to survive and spawn.

Another significant threat to sturgeon populations is overfishing. Despite worldwide efforts to control the caviar trade, illegal fishing is still a significant issue, and many sturgeon species are being overfished.

sturgeon fish

This influences the genetic variety of the species, which is essential for its long-term survival, in addition to the overall population of sturgeon.

Another major threat to sturgeon populations is pollution. Sturgeon and their habitats can be harmed by chemicals, heavy metals, and other contaminants that enter waterways as a result of human activity.

From lowering the quality of their habitats to outright injuring the fish themselves, this can result in a variety of issues.

A sturgeon’s ability to survive and reproduce, for instance, may be hampered by developmental and reproductive issues brought on by pollution exposure.

Current Status of Sturgeon Species

Sturgeons can be found in streams all over the world and there are 26 different species of them.

humpbacked beluga sturgeon finding eggs for reproduction

Some sturgeon species are still fairly common, but others are in grave danger. For instance, the

Caspian Sea’s beluga sturgeon, one of the most prized species for caviar production, is currently regarded as severely endangered.

In recent decades, this species’ populations have decreased by nearly 90%, mostly as a result of overfishing and habitat degradation.

The white sturgeon, which is indigenous to North America’s West Coast, is another species that is facing difficulties.

Along with habitat destruction and exploitation, this species has seen a sharp drop in population in recent years.

Populations of white sturgeon have decreased by almost 95% in certain places, and the species is now regarded as endangered.

Conservation Efforts

Despite the difficulties sturgeon populations face, numerous conservation initiatives are being carried out to safeguard these extinct fish.

In order to control the caviar trade and make sure that sturgeon are not harvested at unsustainable levels, for instance, international organizations like the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) are working.

Additionally, a lot of groups and people are striving to preserve sturgeon habitats and repair polluted waterways.

The Volga River, which supports a number of sturgeon species, including the beluga sturgeon, is one example of a river where the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is working to conserve and restore the environment. These kinds of initiatives seek to enhance the habitats’ quality and boost the local sturgeon population.

To help boost sturgeon populations, captive breeding projects are also in operation.

Sturgeon feeding

Sturgeon are produced in captivity as part of these initiatives with the intention of releasing the fish back into the wild.

This can aid in rebuilding critically depleted populations and boost genetic variety, both of which are essential for the long-term survival of these species.


Sturgeon are a rare and valuable fish species that are currently facing several difficulties. Sturgeon populations all throughout the world are declining because to habitat loss, overfishing, and pollution.

Despite these difficulties, there are numerous initiatives underway to safeguard these extraordinary fish and boost their populations.

There is optimism that we can preserve sturgeon so that future generations can enjoy it, whether it be through international control of the caviar trade, habitat restoration initiatives, or captive breeding operations.

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