Beluga Sturgeon

Beluga Sturgeon is the biggest fish in freshwater. The sturgeon beluga in Russia is the world's biggest freshwater fish. The white sturgeon is North America's biggest freshwater fish. White sturgeon was said to be 15-20 feet long and almost 1 ton in weight. North America's second-biggest freshwater fish is the alligator gar.

Sturgeons are a very ancient group of fish (about 200 million years old) and one of the first lines of bony fish. Their dinosaur-like bodies correspond to their primordial lines. They are coated with thick, honeycomb plates; their tails are asymmetrical and hedgelike, and their long snouts are barbels that assist in locating their beaves. The appearance of the beluga sturgeon may be very frightening, yet this species is harmless.

Beluga Sturgeon: The Largest freshwater fish in the World.

Beluga sturgeon are among the few sturgeon species that aggressively devour other fish and are one of the world's biggest raging fish. Adult beluga sturgeon has few natural predators, but there has been very high fishing pressure from humans. Unfortunately, Beluga Sturgeon is cursed with the production of some of the world's most coveted caviar. Caviar is the name of the table for fish eggs, whereas sturgeon beluga produces millions of eggs.

People have been known to carry several hundred pounds of caviar, and caviar of Beluga sturgeon may cost up to US$3500 per pound (US$8000 per kilo). This unbelievable worth coupled with the number of eggs produced by a single sturgeon makes this species the most expensive fish in the world for fishermen. This number may be the fate of the beluga sturgeon.

In preparation for spawning, the beluga sturgeon, by harpoon or in the nets, may be easily captured. Although in many places legal protection has been restricted, its numbers decrease wherever it exists. It is entirely gone from many seas/rivers in which it used to dwell, and experts believe it is severely threatened. In other words, it is extremely susceptible to extinction across its whole range.

Without additional protection and enforcement of current efforts, one of the largest and most fascinating fish in the world may permanently be lost.

Habitat Beluga is classified as euryhaline, which is able to move freely between freshwater and estuary. Acipenseriformes species frequently join the rivers for migrating to or for spawning in other regions.

Beluga Sturgeon spawn at 9-11 °C and during spawning seasons are sensitive to these conditions of water (Levin 1997). However, apart from spawning periods, adults are very robust to many environmental variables, especially because they dwell in some of the world's most polluted and affected rivers.

Habitat and allocation

  • The Sturgeon Beluga was born in the Black, Caspian,  Black Sea basins, and Adriatic Seas.
  • Historically it has sprung the rivers of the Danube, Dniester, Dnieper, and South Boug into the Black Sea, the Rivers of Volga and Ural into the Caspian Sea, and the River Don into Azov Sea.
  • The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species indicates that about 90 percent of its native spawning habitat is gone.
  • Most populations nowadays are maintained by hatcheries, and their existence relies on them.
  • Where mature beluga sturgeons live in marine settings, shallow water with muddy bottoms.

Physical characteristics

  • The béluga sturgeon belongs to an estimated 200 million-year-old group of fish.
  • Beluga sturgeon is the world's biggest species of freshwater fish. You may measure up to 19.7 feet or 6 meters in length and up to 2,205 pounds or 1,000 kg in weight. In the past, Sturgeons were recorded at a length of 26.25 feet or 8 meters and 7,055 pounds or 3,200 kg.
  • Its back is gray, greenish, or black while its bottom is white. Its belly is white with a golden snout.
  • Instead of scales, they have tough bone plates called scutes.
  • Sturgeons have a cartilage endoskeleton and they have no spinal center.
  • This fish has a shark-like tail.
  • They have sensory barbells off their extended snout and a wide mouth morphology.

Behavior

  • Beluga sturgeons are fish species that migrate. They spend part of their life in salty water and return to the rivers to breed. They are romantic.
  • They cluster along the shore during their upriver journey before entering the rivers. They move at depths of 70 to 180 meters in the deepest sections of the rivers.
  • There are two migratory peaks. There are two. One from January to April in the spring and the other from August to November in the autumn.
  • In their first summer, youth flock to the sea and stay there till adulthood.

Reproduction

  • Female beluga sturgeon matures between the ages of 19 and 22 and males between the ages of 14 and 16.
  • Depending on their size, women may contain 230,000 to 1 million eggs.
  • Females spawn every three to four years and retain their eggs until they are in good condition.
  • During high water levels and strong currents, they spawn upstream at a temperature of 48.2° to 62.6° F or 9° to 17° C.
  • Eggs are placed on the river bed gravel or rocky bottom.
  • Hatchings swim to the sea in warm, shallow waters.
  • The Beluga sturgeon does not care about its descendants.

Diet

  • Freshwater and sea fish, baby seals, carp, herring, crayfish, gobies and perch peeks are eaten by sturgeons in Beluga.
  • Juveniles consume insect larvae, and when they reach 9.4 in length or 24 cm, start to hunt on fish.

Caviar Beluga

  • Beluga caviar is the Beluga sturgeon's unfertilized roe or eggs.
  • A woman's beluga sturgeon may generate in caviar 12% of her body weight.
  • It is the most expensive and costly caviar in the world. It sells for 3,500 dollars/lbs or 8,000 dollars/kg.
  • Since 2005, the importation in the United States of Beluga caviar and its products has been banned under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

Threats

  • The sturgeon beluga is a predatory fish, and additional predators than humans are unknown.
  • The expansion and building of hydroelectric dams, irrigation canals, and dykes which change river flows decreased the spawning habitat of the beluga sturgeon and had the biggest effect on its reproduction.
  • Overfishing for caviar and meat.
  • The size of beluga sturgeons is decreasing nowadays owing to the overfishing of big species that produce greater roe.
  • Most beluga sturgeons do not die of natural causes, most of which are captured before maturation.
  • Scientists predict that the recovery will take more than 100 years due to its delayed breeding maturity and low population.

Conservation Status

  • Beluga sturgeon is extremely susceptible to extinction.
  • Currently, most populations are maintained by hatcheries in their native environment. Their existence relies on their storage.
  • The IUCN Red List of Endangered Species lists "critically endangered" beluga sturgeon.
  • Under CITES II, international commerce is prohibited.
  • Appendix III of the Bern Convention protects it.