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Rare fish released in hope of bringing river back to life

By Anna Liesowska
28 October 2014

Once banned as a result of over-fishing, now there are plans for one million sturgeon a year in Siberian river

Almost fully-grown sturgeons, weighing about 1kg, have been released, after being successfully nurtured in special facilities. Picture: Government of the Novosibirsk region

GIANT sturgeon raised on a Siberian fish farm have been released into the wild as part of an operation that could rejuvenate one of the country's mighty rivers.

Once banned as a result of over-fishing, a total of 15,000 of the rare and beautiful Diamond specimens - popular for the production of Russian caviar - were let go into the Ob River, in the Novosibirsk region.

It is the first time in Russia in which almost fully-grown adults, weighing about 1kg, have been released, after being successfully nurtured in special facilities.

Typically Diamond sturgeon – also known as tsar fish - are no bigger than one centimeter when they go into the river, but this batch were allowed to grow at the Novosibirsk fish factory.

Now there are plans to release as many as one million fish every single year into the Ob, returning it to its plentiful glory days of the past. Growing fish to almost adulthood is an expensive business, and there are very few facilities in Russia with the capability.

Sturgeon fingerlings have been grown from tiny eggs at the Novosibirsk fish factory since 2009, with a number of special pools in operation.

Director Alexey Dzuly and his team have developed an impressive program for raising the fish and now they are seeing their first positive results. He told the Siberian Times: 'This isn’t a laboratory, but industrial pools for rearing fingerlings. The pools have proven very good. I’m pleased – we did it!'

The Ob River, at 3,650km long, is the seventh longest in the world and is the westernmost of the three great Siberian waterways that flow into the Arctic Ocean.

Sturgeon, popular for the production of caviar, was once the main commercial fish in the Ob river basin but due to a sharp decline in numbers, production was banned.

Indeed, it was thought the wild population has reduced by 90 per cent in just three generations.

Comments (1)

The picture with young people, the new generation, is important too. For me, Sturgeon is a symbol, "a flag" for your wild country.
Jocelyne, FRANCE
29/10/2014 14:01

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