April 14, 2009

Sturgeon reappears in Baltic after century

For the first time in more than a century, a sturgeon has turned up in a net in the Baltic Sea, caught by a Swedish fisherman.

Ulf Akerlund told the news agency TT that he caught the unusual fish Thursday off Oland, an island on the southeast coast of Sweden. The fish was in the midst of a net full of cod, his usual catch.

I had at first no idea what it was, he said. But we surfed around a bit on the Internet and researched in a couple of books and we found out that it was a sturgeon.

The sturgeon was more than 2 feet long and weighed more than 5 pounds. Akerlund said that it appeared healthy because when you poke it it becomes very unruly.

There are 26 species of sturgeon with a range from the tropics to the Arctic. But many of the species are prized for their roe, the most valuable being the Black Sea sturgeon that produce caviar, and they are threatened by over-fishing.

In the Baltic, sturgeon were declared extinct in the early 1900s.