Prepared by:

Lisa Speer, Natural Resources Defense Council
Liz Lauck and Ellen Pikitch, Ph.D., Wildlife Conservation Society
Susan Boa, Lisa Dropkin and Vikki Spruill, SeaWeb

December 2000


Table of Contents


Executive Summary

Sturgeon of the Caspian Sea

Overfishing, illegal fishing, and lack of effective management

Habitat destruction


Status of Caspian Sea Sturgeon

The International Caviar Trade

The Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)


Implications for sturgeon populations in the United States

U.S. Commercial Fisheries

Sturgeon Aquaculture


Policy Recommendations

Consumer recommendations

Appendix I: Conservation of critically endangered sturgeon outside the Caspian Sea

Appendix II: Literature Cited


The authors wish to thank the following reviewers for their thoughtful comments and helpful insights:

Dr. David Secor, University of Maryland; Dr. Boyd Kynard, U.S. Geological Survey; Dr. John Waldman, Hudson River Foundation; Craig Hoover, TRAFFIC/WWF; Dr. Rebecca Goldburg, Environmental Defense; Bruce McKay and Bill Mott, SeaWeb; Dr. Phaedra Doukakis, Dr. Steve Zack, Dan Erickson, Wildlife Conservation Society; Elliott Negin and Elizabeth Heyd, Natural Resources Defense Council.

The views expressed in this report are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect those of the reviewers.

Thanks also to: Jeremy Feigelson, Howard Hogan, Rachel Meyer, Dawn Lang, Prosanta Chakrabarty, Bethany Bacher, Laura Siegel, Laura Robb, Russell Unger, Hasten Design and Tom Johnson.

Special thanks to The David and Lucile Packard Foundation.