Our projects

European Sea Sturgeon Restoration Project

Once widespread in UK rivers, European sturgeon are now critically endangered due to river dams, pollutions and fishing. BLUE is working to restore the UK’s population of this prehistoric fish.

The IUCN considers sturgeon to be the most critically endangered group of species on the planet. However, they were once a common sight in the UK’s river and coastal ecosystems, remaining mostly unchanged for the past 200 million years. Two species are present the UK, the more widespread European sturgeon and its close cousin the Atlantic sturgeon. However, weirs and dams, pollution, exploitation and persecution have almost led to the extinction of the ‘Dinosaur Fish’.

To reverse the decline of the UK’s native sturgeon species, Blue Marine is focusing on habitat restoration (starting in the greater Severn estuary system) and has ambitions to reform current legislation for increased protection. Blue Marine hopes to raise awareness of and increase pride in this great British fish, while exploring ways under the IUCN Reintroduction Protocol to begin actively restoring sturgeon numbers in the future.

Film: Animation showcasing the lifecycle of European sturgeon (A. sturio). Credit: Leapfrog Animation.

In 2020, the UK Sturgeon Alliance was formed between Blue Marine, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the Institute of Fisheries Management (IFM), the Severn Rivers Trust and Nature at Work. The Alliance is keeping records of all native sturgeon captures throughout history and hopes to one day see this incredible species return to UK waters.

To read the UK Sturgeon Project Overview document, please click here.

Image credits: Dorset museum and Pymoor Cambridge Community Archive Network

Anatomical drawing – Dominique Vassie 

UK Sturgeon

Key stats

According to the IUCN, sturgeon are the most critically endangered group of species on the planet.

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