IUCN Species of the Day: Atlantic Sturgeon


The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(tm)

Photo credit: Jean-Francois Hellio and Nicholas Van Ingen


The Atlantic Sturgeon, Acipenser sturio, is listed as ‘CRITICALLY ENDANGERED‘ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Sturgeons are one of the oldest fish families in existence, but with 85% of all sturgeon species at risk of extinction, they are also the world’s most threatened animal group. The Atlantic Sturgeon was previously abundant along all European coasts, but today is restricted to a single, reproductive population that breeds in the Gironde, Garonne, and Dordogne basins in France.

Like all sturgeons, this species is long-lived and matures late, increasing its vulnerability to overfishing. It is harvested both for its highly prized flesh and its eggs, which are sold as caviar. Increasing pollution and development, especially channelization, along river systems, has destroyed the spawning and nursery habitats of this species, while the construction of migration obstacles prevents adults from returning to their natal rivers to breed.

International trade in the Atlantic Sturgeon is banned through its listing on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). A captive breeding programme is being undertaken with the long-term goal of restocking parts of this species’ former range.


Geographic Region of the Atlantic Sturgeon

Credit: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™


To learn more about the Atlantic Sturgeon, click here. Or visit the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ by clicking their logo below.

To learn more about the Bush Warriors “Species of the Day” feature, please click here and read up on our initiative to raise awareness about the loss of earth’s biodiversity.