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Turkish Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 2004, Vol 4, Num, 1     (Pages: 49-57)

The Sturgeons: Fragile Species Need Conservation

Serap Ustaoğlu 1 ,İbrahim Okumuş 2

1 Ondokuz Mayıs University, Faculty of Fisheries, 57000 Sinop, Turkey
2 Karadeniz Technical University, Faculty of Marine Sciences, Department of Fisheries, 61530 Sürmene, Trabzon, Turkey
Viewed : 4349 - Downloaded : 3500 Sturgeon is among the oldest fishes in the world. They are living in natural waters of Europe, Asia and the Northern America for 200 million years. Once abundant in lakes and rivers throughout the Northern Hemisphere, sturgeon stocks are now highly endangered, mostly due to over-harvesting and severe habitat alterations. Sturgeons are among the most valuable aquatic species in the world. They are prized for their delicate flesh and world famous caviar. They have also interesting evolutionary status and life history. Several species of sturgeon occurred in the Black Sea basin and in the waters of the neighbouring countries. At present more than 27 sturgeon species are found living throughout the world of which seven species are found distributed in the Black Sea and its drainage basin, namely beluga (Huso huso), Russian sturgeon (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii), common sturgeon (A. sturio), sterlet (A. ruthenus), ship (A. nudiventris), stellate (A. stellatus) and Persian sturgeon (A. persicus). The stocks have declined rapidly due to multi-factorial causes such as overfishing, destruction of critical habitats through construction of dams and dikes on the rivers obstructed the migration of the fish, industrial pollutions and fishing during spawning period. In this paper, the present status of sturgeons in the world and Turkey has been discussed in terms of threats, conservation measures and restoration activities. Keywords : Sturgeon species, habitats, management, conservation, restoration, Turkey