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Baltic Sturgeon Resettlement Project Launched

Woodcut of a sturgeon from 1882
Woodcut of a sturgeon from 1882 Source: Popular Science Monthly (Wikimedia Commons)

In a new program, the first individuals of the critically endangered sturgeon species Acipenser sturio were introduced into Estonian waters today.

The Ministry of the Environment said the hope is to bring the species, commonly known as the European sea sturgeon among other names, back to the eastern corner of the Baltic, where it was once native.

Current conditions are optimum for a revival, the ministry said. Scientists say water quality in the lower Narva River is now acceptable.

Similar efforts have been launched in Germany and Poland and indications are that success is possible.

Four hundred fingerlings - one-year-old specimens raised in Canada - are being introduced into the stretch of river below the fall line. One hundred of them are marked. The project cost 24,000 euros.

The last sturgeon caught in Estonian waters was in 1996, when a 290 cm, 136 kg fish became entangled in a Baltic herring dragnet off the island of Muhu - technically illegal, as the fish was not released. The preserved fish is on display at the Natural History Museum.

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