Restoring The Extinct European Sturgeon
We are over the moon to be partnered up with Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) for the second annual Onetrack1000 event – a 1000 mile run to raise money for our oceans.
BLUE’s mission is to see at least 30% of the world’s ocean under effective protection by 2030 and the other 70% managed in a responsible way, and that’s a mission we can get behind.
The degradation of land and marine ecosystems could negatively impact the health of 3.2 billion people and costs as much as 10 per cent of annual global gross domestic product in loss of species and ecosystem services. The local picture in the UK is no different. We currently “protect” ecosystems that are already stripped of biodiversity and, as time goes on, we lose the concept (and services) of a healthy, abundant ocean forever.
2020 marks the start of the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration, an initiative that aims to massively scale up the restoration of degraded and destroyed ecosystems as a proven measure to fight climate change, and enhance food security, water supply and biodiversity.
To kick start this decade, BLUE will pioneer restoration of flagship habitats and species by providing best-practice case studies to Government.
One of these restoration projects is Restoring The Extinct European Sturgeon:
The downfall of the European sturgeon coincided with the industrial revolution: rivers became polluted and the constructed of river dams and weirs blocked their path to upstream spawning areas. Ecologically, sturgeon provide a valuable role in food chains; the adults are benthic omnivores (removing organic detritus from rivers and estuaries) and the young and eggs provide food and a wide variety of aquatic predators.
Capable of reaching over 100 years, they grow to over three metres
The last European sturgeon was sighted in the Severn in the 1980s and the last in the UK in the Tywi river in 1993.
European sturgeon facts:
- Sturgeon are the most critically endangered group of species on the planet and European sturgeon is the most endangered sturgeon
- They can live for 100 years
- They have been around since the dinosaurs. Hence the name: Dinosaur Fish
- They swim upriver for hundreds of miles to lay their eggs (caviar)
- They can grow to 3 meters in length
- Sturgeon are the largest freshwater fish on the planet
Now critically endangered, the European sturgeon now only spawns in the Garonne river in France though it is being reintroduced to the Elbe in Germany. This year saw the first French tagged fish returning to the south coast of England. BLUE has partnered with the Severn Rivers Trust, Zoological Society of London and the Institute of Fisheries Management to launch the UK sturgeon Alliance and start a long-term restoration project in the River Severn.
Sign up to a 5K, 10K or half marathon and help us kick start the restoration of this extinct fish by reintroducing sturgeon to the River Severn.
For more information on The Blue Marine Foundation check out their website and projects here.
Have a look at our other blog posts on the projects Onetrack1000 will be directly supporting: