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European sturgeon

Acipenser sturio

The European sturgeon is a fish which undertakes anadromous migration. It used to be widely distributed in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. It spends most of its life at sea, but in the spring and early summer, if there are no dams, it enters the lower, deeper sections of rivers to breed. After spawning, the adults return to the sea. They prefer sandy and rocky substrates and feed on molluscs, polychaetes, other worms and small fish. It is a long-lived and slow-growing species that can live for up to 100 years and reach 600 cm in length and 400 kg in weight. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), it is classified as Critically Endangered (CR) at the European level. This is mainly due to overfishing, poaching, habitat degradation and the presence of migration barriers. It has not been evaluated in the Red Book of Endangered Vertebrates of Greece, although until 1975, the species was regularly caught in the Evros Delta. The last individual was collected in our country in 2005 from the River Evros, something which suggests that it has probably now become Extinct (EX) in Greece.

Text: A.Economou

Foto: Chr. Karantzolas