Sturgeons are more than caviar: A plea for the revival of sturgeons in the Danube River (Literature review)
Reinartz, R.; Bloesch, Jürg; Ring, Thomas; Stein, H.
This paper compiles an extensive literature study (REINARTZ 2002) on the biology, ecology and status of the Danubian sturgeon species, as well as possibilities for their conservation and restoration. Only four out of six acipenserid species, that were native to the Danube River Basin, still reproduce in the Lower Danube River. In the Upper and Middle Danube River, migratory sturgeons have become extinct. Survival of the only true potamodromous sturgeon species in the Danube, the sterlet (Acipenser ruthenus), depends solely on stocking in the Upper Danube. Overexploitation and habitat degradation are the major threats for Danubian sturgeons. Hence, the enforcement and implementation of strict fishing regulations, supplementing stocking programmes, and last but not least river restoration are recommended as the most effective management strategies. In particular, the existing dams along the Danube River and major tributaries must be made passable for the migrating sturgeons. Telemetry and molecular genetics may help to elucidate the natural behaviour and range of sturgeon habitats. Sound scientific research must be the foundation of sustainable sturgeon management.