Conservation and sustainable use of wild sturgeon populations of the NW Black Sea and Lower Danube River in Romania
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- Institutt for biologi 
Sturgeons belong to one of the oldest families of bony fish in existence, having their first appearance in the fossil records approximately 200 million years ago. Their natural habitats are found in the subtropical, temperate and sub-Arctic rivers, lakes and coastlines of Eurasia and North America. In the Romanian waters, five anadromous species of sturgeon, out of the total 25 species known by science, once migrated from the Black Sea into the Danube for spawning: beluga; Huso huso, Russian sturgeon; Acipenser gueldenstaedtii, stellate sturgeon; A. stellatus, ship sturgeon; A. nudiventris and the European Atlantic sturgeon; A. sturio (Knight, 2009). The NW Black Sea and Lower Danube River sturgeons, like many Acipenserids, were seriously affected by the rapid changes brought by human development. Being one of the finest caviar producers in the world they were intensively harvested for many centuries. Heavy uncontrolled fishing and destruction of habitat led to the collapse of most of the Acipenserids and the total disappearance of the European Atlantic sturgeon (A. sturio) from the NW Black Sea. Public attention was focused world wide on sturgeons after their listing in the IUCN Red List of Threatened species in 1996. In 1998, after evaluating their abundance in the wild, CITES also decided to strictly regulate the international trade in all Acipenserids. The paper aims to analyze and review conservation measures that were taken locally, nationally and internationally by humans and the effect they had on one of Europe s only naturally reproducing sturgeon populations.