IUCN Species of the Day: Beluga Sturgeon


The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(tm)

Photo credit: Tony Gilbert


The Beluga Sturgeon, Huso huso, is listed as ‘ENDANGERED’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Also known as the Giant Sturgeon, it is the largest sturgeon in the world, and the largest freshwater fish in Europe, where it occurs primarily in and around the Caspian, Black, and occasionally in the Adriatic and Mediterranean Seas.

Overfishing, habitat loss and pollution threaten the survival of the Beluga Sturgeon. Its eggs are highly prized as beluga caviar, and illegal fishing is reported to be common. Pollution, dams and silting can cause habitat destruction by damaging coastal waters and altering river courses. For example, the Volgograd Dam in Russia has effectively blocked access to almost all of the species’ spawning grounds along the Volga River.

The majority of the Beluga Sturgeon population is now supported artificially, with hatcheries thought to be the sole reason the species still survives in the Caspian Sea. The United States is the biggest importer of beluga caviar, and has now listed the species as ‘Threatened’ under the Endangered Species Act, suspending imports.


Geographic Range of the Beluga SturgeonCredit: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™


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


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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.