Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Beluga sturgeon in Caspian Sea reclassified as 'critically endangered'

Date:
March 22, 2010
Source:
Stony Brook University
Summary:
Beluga sturgeon in the Caspian Sea have been reclassified as "critically endangered" placing them on IUCN's Red List, providing strong evidence that fishing and international trade should be halted and a stock-rebuilding plan should be initiated immediately. Beluga sturgeon populations have been decimated in part due to unrelenting exploitation for black caviar -- the sturgeon's unfertilized eggs -- considered the finest in the world.

IOCS sturgeon scientist and conservation geneticist Dr. Phaedra Doukakis with a beluga sturgeon in Kazakhstan.
Credit: Image courtesy of Stony Brook University

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) formally announced the reclassification of beluga sturgeon in the Caspian Sea as "critically endangered" on its Red List on March 18, providing strong evidence that fishing and international trade should be halted and a stock-rebuilding plan should be initiated immediately. Beluga sturgeon populations have been decimated in part due to unrelenting exploitation for black caviar -- the sturgeon's unfertilized eggs -- considered the finest in the world.

"For those of us who have been involved in studying the rapid decline of this species over the past several decades, this reclassification of beluga sturgeon is of great significance and relief," said Dr. Ellen Pikitch, Professor and Executive Director of the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University. "However, of even greater significance is the IUCN reclassification of many sturgeons, which shows them to be among the most imperiled animals on earth. A higher percentage of sturgeon species were designated as critically endangered than any other group of species assessed, including other fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and plants."

Dr. Pikitch has led scientific efforts to highlight the seriously depleted status of the beluga sturgeon and to secure protection for the species for more than a decade. Dr. Pikitch was one of the petitioners of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) seeking listing of the species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA). Beluga sturgeon were listed under the U.S. ESA in 2004, and imports of its products into the United States have been banned since 2005.

The Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University contributed significant new scientific information on several species of sturgeon to the newly released IUCN Red List sturgeon assessment. Dr. Ellen Pikitch, Executive Director, and Dr. Phaedra Doukakis, Senior Research Scientist with the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science are members of IUCN's Sturgeon Specialist Group (SSG).

They recently co-authored, along with other U.S. and Kazakhstani scientists, the results of a study of Caspian Sea beluga sturgeon of the Ural River. The results, which were published online this month in the journal Conservation Biology, suggest that conservation strategies for beluga sturgeon should focus on reducing the overfishing of adults rather than heavily relying upon hatchery supplementation and also demonstrate that current harvest rates in the fishery are four to five times higher than those that would sustain population abundance.

"This study only adds more credence to the reclassification of beluga sturgeon as 'critically endangered,' and underscores the need for swift, international protection to help them stave off extinction," said Dr. Pikitch. "And, the new IUCN assessment demonstrates that almost all of the 27 sturgeon species need enhanced protection since conservation measures to date have not been sufficient to ensure the recovery and long-term persistence of these valuable and ancient fish."

Drs. Pikitch and Doukakis presented their latest findings, as well as an overview of status and trends of global sturgeon fisheries, at a meeting during the 15th meeting of the Conference of Parties to CITES in Doha, Qatar. Also presenting were Dr. Kent E. Carpenter, IUCN Global Marine Species Assessment Director, on the reclassification of the sturgeon species, and Dr. Volker Homes, Species Conservation Section Director, WWF Germany and TRAFFIC, on caviar trade and labeling.

The study is entitled, "Management and Recovery Options for Ural River Beluga Sturgeon."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Stony Brook University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Stony Brook University. "Beluga sturgeon in Caspian Sea reclassified as 'critically endangered'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100318113241.htm>.
Stony Brook University. (2010, March 22). Beluga sturgeon in Caspian Sea reclassified as 'critically endangered'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100318113241.htm
Stony Brook University. "Beluga sturgeon in Caspian Sea reclassified as 'critically endangered'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100318113241.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) — Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) — With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) — Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) — Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:  

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile iPhone Android Web
      Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins