The beluga sturgeon is the largest freshwater fish and can live up to 100 years. The beluga sturgeon is famous for the caviar made from its eggs. World demand for caviar far exceeds the available supply, however, forcing legal fishers to catch increasingly younger and smaller sturgeons and fuelling a growing black market.
All native sturgeon species are at risk in the Danube Basin due to their over-exploitation, the pollution and degradation of spawning grounds and the interruption of migration routes. Efforts are underway to implement a Sturgeon Action Programme to bring the sturgeon back the Danube.
In the Danube, the sturgeon is particularly affected by existing dams and new infrastructure projects but also by poaching and hybridisation with exotic species.