Acipenser, Huso spp.
Production country — Europe and USA
Production method — Open system
It is unlikely that you will find sturgeon meat for sale in the UK, you are most likely to find farmed caviar available. As wild sturgeon are so depleted, farmed caviar is a good choice. With sturgeon farming there is no dependence on wild fish for broodstock as all fish are bred in hatcheries. Most sturgeon farming in Europe takes place in France.
Criterion Score: -3
Sturgeon are a fed species, requiring a commercial diet containing fish and vegetable proteins and oils. Sturgeon cannot be assured to use responsible feed although some feed manufacturers may have a sourcing policy in place this cannot be verified. Sturgeon also require a large percentage of fish in their diets.
Criterion Score: 2
There are few chemicals used in sturgeon production, fish health is managed by high welfare standards. There is little data on the incidences of disease transfer and escapes, although they are thought to be low.
Fish Health and Welfare
Criterion Score: 2
Standards for welfare and humane slaughter are in place for sturgeon, they are a delicate species requiring careful handling
Criterion Score: 1
Regulation of sturgeon farming in both US and Europe is deemed to be comprehensive and generally effective.
Sturgeon can be farmed in ponds and raceways as well as in closed, recirculating systems. Ponds and raceways have to be located next to a freshwater supply to allow a flow-through of water, similar system to that used in trout aquaculture in the UK.
Based on method of production, fish type, and consumer rating: only fish rated 2 and below are included as an alternative in the list below. Click on a name to show the sustainable options available.Basa, Tra, Catfish or Vietnamese River Cobbler
Bass, seabass (Farmed)
Bream, Gilthead (Farmed)
Cod, Atlantic Cod
Cod, Pacific Cod
Pollock, Alaska, Walleye
Sturgeon is the common name used for some 26 species of fish in the family Acipenseridae, one of the oldest families of bony fish in existence, all found in the northern hemisphere. Sometimes Sturgeon is used more exclusively to refer to species in the two best-known genera, Acipenser and Huso. Sturgeon are distinctive for their elongated bodies, lack of scales and rows of bony plates including covering the head. Most sturgeons are anadromous bottom-feeders, spawning upstream and feeding in river deltas and estuaries. While some are entirely freshwater, very few venture into the open ocean beyond near coastal areas. All sturgeon are slow-growing & late-maturing. Young sturgeon primarily feed on algae and bottom- living aquatic invertebrates while remaining in rivers and estuarine environments. Adult sturgeon primarily feed on fish, shellfish and other aquatic invertebrates including amphipods, and shrimp. White sturgeon Acipenser transmontanus is one of the most important sturgeon species in the American continent inhabiting the whole Pacific Coast. The largest freshwater fish in North America ,it can weigh over 1,500 pounds, be 20 feet in length, and live for over 100 years. White sturgeon reach maturity in 15-25 years . Moving into large rivers in the spring, spawning usually takes place in swift current with a rocky bottom, near rapids. White sturgeon can spawn multiple times during their life, and apparently spawn every 4-11 years as they grow and mature. Females can produce from 100,000 to several million eggs each. Eggs are broadcast in the water column and the fertilized eggs sink and attach to the bottom to hatch. Research indicates that water flow is one of the key determinants of larval survival. Siberian or Long-nosed sturgeon, Acipenser baeri, is a freshwater species, but it migrates long distances in the rivers where it is found. Found in all of the major Siberian river basins that drain northward into the Kara, Laptev and East Siberian seas, including the Ob, Yenisei (which drains Lake Baikal via the Angara River) the Lena and Kolyma rivers. It is also found in Kazakhstan and China in the Irtysh River, a major tributary of the Ob.Though variable between and within river basins this species is large; the maximum recorded weight was 210 kg. Long-lived (up to sixty years), and late to reach sexual maturity (males at 11-24 years, females at 20-28 years). They spawn in strong current main stem river channels on stone or gravel substrates. The species has been in steep decline in its natural range due to habitat loss, degradation and poaching. Up to 40% of the Siberian sturgeon spawning habitat has been made inaccessible by damming.
ReferencesMonterey Bay Aquarium.Seafood Watch, Seafood Report: Farmed Sturgeon 2007. Available online at: http://www.seafoodwatch.org/seafood-recommendations/groups/sturgeon?q=sturgeon&t=sturgeon
FAO 2005-2018. Cultured Aquatic Species Information Programme. Acipenser baerii. Cultured Aquatic Species Information Programme. Text by Williot, P., Bronzi, P., Benoit, P., Bonpunt, E., Chebanov, M., Domezain, A., Gessner, J., Gulyas, T., Kolman, R., Michaels, J., Sabeau, L. & Vizziano, D. In: FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department [online]. Rome. Updated 13 January 2005. [Cited 12 September 2018].