Publication: Current occurrence of the Atlantic Sturgeon Acipenser oxyrinchus in Northern Spain: a new prospect for Sturgeon conservation in Western Europe
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Plublic Library of Science (PLOS)
Acipenser oxyrinchus is considered extirpated in Europe, but numerous breeding populations still exist on the Atlantic coast of North America. An adult female A. oxyrinchus, 2500 mm total length and 120 kg wet weight, was accidentally fished on 24 November 2010 near the coast of Gijón, Asturias, Spain. The fish was identified by its morphological pattern as well as by mitochondrial and nuclear DNA analyses. Because the sturgeon was found far away from any known breeding area, it was considered a stray or vagrant specimen. It certainly has a natural origin, but its eventual birthplace could not be determined. Because its current occurrence was unknown in southwestern Europe until now, the species is not cataloged or protected in this area. Therefore, the residual European stocks of A. oxyrinchus ought to be listed as Critically Endangered (CR) according to the IUCN categories. Likewise, it is imperative for southwestern European countries with an historic or recent occurrence of A. oxyrinchus to protect the species through domestic and international legislation. The present sympatric occurrence of A. sturio and A. oxyrinchus raises new challenges about key questions, such as the species selection for restoration program in European countries. Accurate monitoring is mandatory to obtain appropriate information for an assessment of the current occurrence of A. oxyrinchus in southwestern Europe.