The Romanian Police officers of the “Danube Delta” Police Service rescued and released back into its natural habitat a 200 kg Beluga (Huso huso), that had been illegally captured.
“The sturgeon was found on Saturday, 28th September 2019, in the Black Sea, between the St. George and Perisor Danube arms, wrapped up in 500 carmaci. On the black market, the meat and the caviar could be worth about 100.000 lei (the equivalent of approx. 20.000 Euro)”, one of the police officers said.
Carmaci is an old-fashioned fishing tool, that is made of a large, very sharp row of hooks, used especially for catching large species of fish, such as Beluga. In Romania, sturgeon fishing is prohibited until 2021 as a measure to protect the last remaining in the EU wild sturgeons that are able to naturally reproduce.
Reaching weights of more than 1 tonne and lengths of up to 5-7 meters, Beluga sturgeon are not only the largest sturgeon species, but also the largest migratory fish in the world. Although they can live up to nearly a century, because they mature at the age of 16-20, they spawn only a few times during their lives. Nowadays, eight sturgeon species exist in the European Union, four of which can still be found in the Lower Danube: Beluga Sturgeon, Sterlet, Stellate Sturgeon and Russian Sturgeon.