Russian sturgeon

© Dennis Jacobsen

Russian sturgeon reach sizes well over two meters in length and 100 kg. In our study area, the potential spawning area for the Black Sea populations is limited to the Danube River below the Iron Gate dam, Đerdap I (Gessner et al. 2010; Lenhardt et al. 2006a,b), but the species has become extremely rare, and no longer spawns naturally in the lower Danube (Vecsei 2001); both overfishing and pollution are serious problems (Gessner et al. 2010; Bacalbaşa-Dobrovici 1997). Russian sturgeon feed in shallow depths on mollusks and small benthic fishes, they spawn in flows of 1 to 1.5 m/s over gravel or coarse sand (Vecsei 2001). Also listed under Annex II of the CITES convention.

Three more large dams on the lower Danube would end any chance to rehabilitate the Black Sea population.

  • IUCN-Redlist Critically Endangered
  • EUR-HAB-DIR ---
  • Bern Convention ---
  • Hydropower Sensitivity Very High
  • Balkan Dam Threat * High

* The assessment of Balkan Dam Threat is based on the loss of habitat that would occur if all or most of the planned hydropower schemes in the distribution range of the species were to be built. For more precise specification see Fish Study, page 8.

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