Save The Sturgeon: How the public can help Britain's Critically Endangered 'Dinosaur fish'

A new tool has been launched today which allows the public to dive into marine conservation and record any sightings of the iconic European sturgeon species.

The European sturgeon was once widespread in most large rivers across Europe and Great Britain but is sadly Critically Endangered today. Now, thanks to the first ever sturgeon re-introduction projects in France and Germany, they have started appearing once again off the south coast of England, most recently a sturgeon was caught off the Southwest coast earlier this month. 

Historic overfishing, river barriers and pollution all contributed to the sturgeon’s decline, and the last recorded fish in our rivers was in the Tywi (Afon Tywi), Carmarthenshire in 1993. 

The UK Sturgeon Alliance is attempting to reverse this catastrophic decline and restore European sturgeon back to British waters.  The ‘Save the Sturgeon’ website aims to raise awareness and allows users to log records if they have spotted the rare species. This valuable information will be fed directly into Great Britain’s sturgeon database, which will help the UK Sturgeon Alliance [ZSL, BLUE, IFM, Severn Rivers Trust]understand the current and historic presence of the species in our waters.

These remarkable migratory fish can reach six metres long and live for over 100 years. They return to rivers in the summer months to spawn before disappearing back to sea to continue their growth, feeding on bottom-dwelling species like worms and mussels.  

Alex Hubberstey, project co-ordinator from the Blue Marine Foundation, said “sturgeon have survived multiple mass extinctions, but humans have driven these extraordinary fish to the brink of atotal disappearance. My hope is that sturgeon will once again be a regular sight in our rivers and coasts.”

Steve Colclough, from the Institute of Fisheries Management, said “With the help of many interested partners, the Alliance has recently developed an incredible history of the sturgeon in England, Wales, and Scotland since 1700, through newspaper reports and museum exhibits. This database together with other historical and archaeological information shows clearly that sturgeon have been associated with our rivers, estuaries and coastal waters as far back as records extend. As the fish return, modern reports from fishermen, anglers and members of the public are becoming a vital element in developing our understanding and shaping our future work”. 

Alison Debney, from ZSL, said “sturgeon are ancient fish which are an irreplaceable part of our world’s biodiversity.  If we lose these unique fish, we lose hundreds of millions of years of evolutionary history.”

Ashley Deane, from Severn Rivers Trust, said “Through our catchment-wide conservation delivery we’re committed to continuing our development of river restoration projects to enhance the River Severn and its constituent tributaries for freshwater wildlife, particularly migratory fish species. We’re proud to be at the forefront of delivery across the Severn working with a vast range of partners, stakeholders and funders to bolster our aspirations of creating a thriving River Severn. Ensuring the future resilience of the catchment for the Critically Endangered sturgeon is imperative for the survival of this species.”

Find out more about sturgeon – or record your sighting – at, or search #SaveTheSturgeon on social media. 


The UK Sturgeon Alliance is an NGO coalition made up of Blue Marine Foundation, ZSL, Institute of Fisheries Management, and Severn Rivers Trust.

About Blue Marine Foundation:  

Known as BLUE, this UK registered charity was set up in 2010 by some of the team behind the award-winning documentary film ‘The End of the Line’. BLUE aims to restore the ocean to health by addressing overfishing, one of the world’s biggest environmental problems.  BLUE is dedicated to creating marine reserves, restoring vital habitats and establishing models of sustainable fishing.  BLUE’s mission is to see 30 per cent of the world’s ocean under effective protection by 2030. For more information visit  

About ZSL (Zoological Society of London):

Founded in 1826, ZSL (Zoological Society of London) is an international scientific, conservation and educational charity whose mission is to promote and achieve the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats. Our mission is realised through our ground-breaking science, our active conservation projects in more than 50 countries and our two Zoos, ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. For more information visit

About Institute of Fisheries Management (IFM):

Created in 1969 the IFM is an international organisation of people whose aim is to support and promote sustainable fisheries management for the benefit of its members, fisheries, wildlife and society. For more information visit

About Severn Rivers Trust:

‍‍We are an independent charity established in 2008 to protect and enhance the river Severn, its tributaries. We are living through a time of great change; in the middle of a Biodiversity Crisis, and a Climate Emergency. We are witnessing disastrous loss of habitat, collapse of ecosystems, erosion of precious soils, increased flooding and devastating drought.  Our mission is to ensure a future where our children and grand children can enjoy healthy vibrant rivers teeming with diverse and wonderful life – from the magnificent Sturgeon to the Atlantic salmon, from the white clawed crayfish to European eel. We want to restore, enhance and create valuable habitat within the network of the Severn Catchment.

For more information visit: