Two sturgeon identification videos were produced this autumn as part of the “LIFE for Danube Sturgeons” project in order to help law enforcement officials to differentiate native sturgeon species but also species and hybrids which can be found in fish farms and sometimes also in natural rivers.
The videos are quite unique, as they provide a very comprehensive overview of the main features of sturgeons and expert support on how different sturgeon species can be identified by knowing their main characteristics.
Presenter in both videos is Thomas Friedrich, fisheries biologist at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna and Project Manager of the LIFE-Sterlet project.
Together with a filming crew from WWF Austria, Thomas spent a whole day of presenting sturgeon species in a controlled environment, a pond outside Vienna, where many different representatives of the sturgeon family are kept.
Filming live animals has its charm and challenges. The team had to show specimen that look typical for the Danube sturgeons and the most common hybrids and non-native sturgeon species that can be found in the Lower Danube region.
Filmed were five sturgeon species native to the Danube river: Beluga (Huso huso), Russian Sturgeon (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii), Stellate Sturgeon (Acipenser stellatus), Ship Sturgeon (Acipenser nudiventris) and Sterlet (Acipenser ruthenus) as part of the “Identification of the Wild Danube Sturgeon Species” video.
For the second video “Exotic Sturgeon Species and Hybrids”, species that are not indigenous to the Danube and crossbreeds common in aquaculture were filmed: Bester (Beluga x Sterlet), a hybrid between Russian Sturgeon x Sterlet, Siberian Sturgeon (Acipenser baerii), White Sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) and Adriatic Sturgeon (Acipenser naccarii).
Both videos will be used in trainings for capacity building of the Law Enforcement Authorities in the four target countries of the project: Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine.
The videos can be watched in English and with subtitles in Bulgarian, Romanian Serbian and Ukrainian. For each language version, please check the respective language webpage, section Project materials/videos.
Presenter – Thomas Friedrich BSc, Project Manager LIFE-Sterlet, Austria
Assistant – Jutta Jahrl, WWF Austria
Photographer – Hannes Greber, WWF Austria
Cameraman – Walther Gastinger, WWF Austria