A Beluga Sturgeon Huso Huso © Charlene N Simmons / Generic CC 2.0

Illegal caviar trade

A Beluga Sturgeon Huso Huso © Charlene N Simmons / Generic CC 2.0


Published 18 June 2013


Europe’s last wild sturgeons threatened by ongoing illegal fishing and caviar trade—WWF and TRAFFIC

Bucharest, Romania, 18th June 2013—Ongoing illegal fishing and trade in caviar in Romania and Bulgaria is threatening the survival of sturgeons in the Danube river basin finds a new report by WWF and TRAFFIC.

Illegal caviar trade in Bulgaria and Romania

Report author(s):
Jutta Jahrl

Publication date:
June 2013


  • Originating 200 million years ago, sturgeons have outlasted the dinosaurs, but today are the most threatened animals on the IUCN red list of threatened species. Overfishing - principally for caviar - is the biggest cause for concern, but cutting off sturgeon migration routes, habitat alteration, and pollution are further contributing causes. However, according to the World Sturgeon Conservation Society, the Danube is the only large river system in Europe where protection of existing but dwindling sturgeon stocks is still possible.
  • Due to its high price and rarity, caviar - one of the most expensive wildlife products - is often traded illegally. Among the sturgeon species native to the Danube is the Beluga Sturgeon, famous for its expensive caviar.
  • The Black Sea is one of the most important sturgeon fisheries in the world, second only to the Caspian Sea. The Danube, as one of the major feeder rivers and estuaries of the Black Sea, is crucial for sturgeons. Fishing and export of sturgeon and sturgeon products of wild origin was banned in Romania in 2006 and in Bulgaria in 2011. The current ban ends at the end of 2015 in both countries.


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