Two months after the release of the Russian Sturgeons at Belene (Bulgaria) and a month after the first report on their movement, a juvenile sturgeon was caught in the Romanian part of the Danube river, reported WWF Romania on 25th August 2019. Tudor Ionescu, from the Sturgeons Research and Development Center of Galati University, was part of the monitoring team and provided further details on the accidental catch of the Russian Sturgeon.
“I got really excited when I spotted the juvenile Russian Sturgeon entangled in the net since this particular species is so rare, but then I realised with disappointment that it was not a wild specimen” Tudor said. The tag on the sturgeon’s left fin was the clear sign for the monitoring team that it was one of the 20 000 Russian Sturgeons that had been released in mid-June by WWF Bulgaria in attempt to help wild Russian Sturgeon populations in the Lower Danube stabilise.
The video shows how the Russian Sturgeon is being checked for internal tags and its impressive size as compared to how it measured in June.
Even though it wasn’t a wild young-of-the-year, the caught and released tagged sturgeon brought great news for the researchers because the fish was showing the ability to have been surviving for more than two months in this new environment and adapting successfully to the life in the river. Although the released Russian Sturgeons were bred and raised in an aquaculture facility in conditions close to the river conditions, there still exists the possibility that fish might not survive the change despite the WWF’s experts’ best efforts.
The specimen of Russian Sturgeon captured yesterday by Tudor Ionescu measured at 44 cm long and weighed 260 grams. To reach Galati, the young sturgeon travelled approx. 500 km on the Danube river. Keep checking our News section for more information on the journey of the Russian Sturgeons.