Reaching lengths of 24 feet (7 m) and weights of more than 3500 pounds (1500 kilos), the Beluga Sturgeon is the largest sturgeon and one of the largest bony fishes in the world. It has a life cycle similar to the salmons in that it hatches in freshwater rivers, spends most of its adult life in saltwater seas, and returns each year to spawn upriver. Unlike the salmons, Beluga Sturgeon reproduce year after year, and large individuals may live for over 100 years.
Appetite for caviar could see paddlefish suffer sturgeon's fate
"Appetite for caviar could see paddlefish suffer sturgeon's fate -- As beluga sturgeon become scarce, illicit traders are turning increasingly to the paddlefish as a substitute." -- Shown: "American paddlefish (Polyodon spathula) – the species’ long, signature snouts are lined with sensors that detect plankton. Photograph: Norbert Wu/Corbis"
Beluga Sturgeon CRITICALLY ENDANGERED: Its caviar is considered among the world’s finest but overfishing and loss of breeding grounds has seen its numbers fall by as much as 90 per cent in 30 years, despite trade quotas and other restrictions.