Beluga sturgeon (Huso huso) are listed as a “critically endangered” species on the IUCN Red List and are protected by CITES.
The largest of all sturgeon species is the most prestigious of all due to its caviar, once the most expensive food product in the world. It has been unavailable in the USA since 2005 when it was placed on the Endangered Species Act list, making it illegal in trade. Sturgeon Aquafarms, at that time, was the only facility in the USA with live fish. In 2016, Sturgeon Aquafarms obtained the only existing permit exemption to trade in this species.
The species endured a 90% decline in global stocks over the last 60 years.
Wild range: Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Serbia and Turkey
Habitat: Anadromous from salt seas to fresh water rivers for spawning
Adult length: 6-15 ft
Adult weight: 140-280 lbs
Genetic Material: Fertilized eggs, larvae
For Commercial Use: Hide and Isinglass
For consumption: Meat, Caviar (not at this time), Liver and Notocord
MEAT: Its meat is white, soft and tender with a neutral flavor
reminiscent of swordfish. Enjoy as a filet or steak and season well.
For more information related to the status of Beluga sturgeon in the wild, you may download a species report here.