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.

Related Articles


"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 November 25, 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 November 25, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) Take a stab at this -- stunt video shows a lamb chop's journey from an east London restaurant over 30 kilometers into space. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cambodian Capital's Only Working Elephant to Retire in Jungle

Cambodian Capital's Only Working Elephant to Retire in Jungle

AFP (Nov. 25, 2014) Phnom Penh's only working elephant was blessed by a crowd of chanting Buddhist monks Tuesday as she prepared for a life of comfortable jungle retirement after three decades of giving rides to tourists. Duration: 00:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stray Dog Follows Adventure Racing Team for 6-Day Endurance Race

Stray Dog Follows Adventure Racing Team for 6-Day Endurance Race

Buzz60 (Nov. 24, 2014) A Swedish Adventure racing team travels to try and win a world title, but comes home with something way better: a stray dog that joined the team for much of the grueling 430-mile race. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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