Although they survived the dinosaurs, today sturgeons are on the brink of extinction. The main reason is our increasing demand for caviar, their unfertilized roe that has become the epitome of luxury food, coupled with habitat loss and migration barriers caused by human activities. The most dramatic declines occurred within the past three decades only when populations crashed, as documented by a drop in catches of over 99%. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) considers sturgeons the most endangered group of species on Earth: up to 23 of 27 species are on the brink of extinction.
The WWF network has put significant efforts into protecting the last viable populations of sturgeons. Our “Saving Sturgeons“ report outlines the ecological, commercial and cultural importance of sturgeons and the main threats they face globally. It then takes us on a journey to the nine main sturgeon regions in the world and describes the status of sturgeons there, as well as WWF's work to protect them.
WWF’s Network Sturgeon Strategy was developed through discussion of interested WWF offices and programmes and with external WWF partner organizations. It maps out the main areas of work for WWF in the next 5 years on sturgeon conservation. It focuses on:
- Combatting overexploitation
- Restoring life-cycle habitats
- Conservation stocking