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Assessment of Extinction Risk and Reasons for Decline in Sturgeon

Abstract

Sturgeon populations in the Danube River have been affected by a combination of hydropower development, over-harvesting, habitat degradation from agricultural and industrial practices and from urbanization. The effects of these changes have been monitored on six sturgeon species inhabiting the Danube River. Two of them are resident species, while the other four migrate to the river for spawning. Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser sturio) has completely disappeared from this region. Ship sturgeon (Acipenser nudiventris) is very rare in professional fishing catches. Beluga (Huso huso), Russian sturgeon (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii), stellate sturgeon (Acipenser stellatus) and sterlet (Acipenser ruthenus) are endangered with different levels of extinction risk. Here, we model the time dependence of the beluga and Russian sturgeon catch in the Serbian part of the Danube River. Predicted extinction of Russian sturgeon was estimated to fall around the middle of the century, and for beluga approximately at middle of the millennium. Suggestions for sturgeon conservation measures on a national level and coordination of all relevant institutions in Serbia are also presented.

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Lenhardt, M., Jaric, I., Kalauzi, A. et al. Assessment of Extinction Risk and Reasons for Decline in Sturgeon. Biodivers Conserv 15, 1967–1976 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-005-4317-0

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Keywords

  • Dam building
  • Lower Danube region
  • Social and economic factors
  • Sturgeon