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In a joint effort between employees of Drawa National Park (DPN) in Poland and their German counterparts, 5,000 Baltic sturgeon fry were released into the Drawa River as part of a program to restore the population of this once-declared extinct fish species.
Genetic Connection to North American Sturgeon
The fry introduced into the Drawa River originated from the primary stock of sturgeons obtained from the Saint John River in North America. Sturgeons residing there are genetically akin to the extinct Baltic sturgeon, emphasizing the genetic connection in this conservation initiative.
Baltic sturgeons are anadromous migratory species, spending most of their lives in marine waters but returning to their natal rivers for spawning. The released fry are expected to migrate downstream from Drawa to the Notec, Warta, Odra, and eventually reach the Baltic Sea. After spending 2 to 6 years in brackish waters, they will return to the sea, completing a lifecycle that may last up to 20 years.
Living Fossil Conservation
Considered a living fossil, the Baltic sturgeon’s roots trace back to the Jurassic era. The drastic decline in its Baltic population over recent centuries resulted from anthropogenic changes, river regulation, dam construction, pollution, and overfishing.