Overfishing of sturgeons and illegal caviar trade


Over-exploitation is the main direct threat for the survival of Danube sturgeons

Sturgeons are especially vulnerable to overfishing. Due to their long life cycles and late maturity of 8-14 years, populations take many years to recover.

Romania and Bulgaria are the only potential source countries for wild caviar in Europe. Until some years ago, when sturgeon populations fell drastically, they were among the top-10 caviar exporting countries worldwide.

A fishing ban in Romania until 2016 and an annual moratorium in Bulgaria are important steps to protect the rare fish. Nevertheless, illegal fishing and caviar trade are continuing and pose the major threat to Danube sturgeons. This is driven by the extremely high economic value of caviar, with retail prices of up to 10.000 €/kg.


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