European Sea Sturgeon (Acipenser sturio)

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Medium: Watercolour and Procreate


Sturgeon caught

A thousand years ago it would have been common to see (or catch) this striking species in the Thames or other UK waters, with healthy populations existing throughout Europe. Now sturgeon are one of the most critically endangered groups on the planet (IUCN) and they are practically non-existent in UK rivers where they were once widespread. This is due in part to the intensive weir and lock system in place throughout the country. Because sturgeon are anadromous, spending most of their lives in the sea while spawning in fresh water, any obstacles within waterways affect the success of this migratory fish.


Sturgeon stamp

Out of the 27 sturgeon species, the European Sturgeon is the only one native to the UK. Sturgeon have remained relatively unchanged for 200 million years, still pre-historic in appearance, with their sensory whiskers and an armoured row of lateral scales. These slow- growing creatures can live to around 50 years and grow to 20 feet long. Their late maturation and slow birth rate have made populations additionally vulnerable to fishing and environmental threats. To further add to their unique nature, they are considered “Royal” fish and if caught are meant to be offered to the monarchy. Conservation efforts have helped some sturgeon species (also known for their desirable caviar!) and strategies are in place to help re-establish a breeding population in UK waters .

For more information, visit 
The Canal & River Trust or
Blue Marine Foundation


To purchase Sturgeon prints or products and support conservation efforts, Visit Shop page >>