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Acipenser schrenckii

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA ACTINOPTERYGII ACIPENSERIFORMES ACIPENSERIDAE

Scientific Name: Acipenser schrenckii
Species Authority: Brandt, 1869
Common Name(s):
English Amur Sturgeon
Taxonomic Notes: The Amur Sturgeon is represented in the Amur River basin by two morphs: brown and grey. However, the relationship between these morphs has not been examined morphologically, genetically, or ecologically. Amur Sturgeon form local stocks, and it appears that an entire life cycle of each stock occurs in constrained segments of the Amur River, with the fish found in the lower reach of the Amur River utilizing the estuarine waters. Brown morphs are rare and restricted to the middle and lower reaches of the Amur River. They are rare and grow more slowly than do the grey ones. There are a few small local concentrations of brown morph. While the distribution of grey ones are found in the estuary, middle and lower reaches of Amur River, and the Zeya-Bureya lowlands, which is believed to be on the brink of extinction. The grey morph’s mainstem populations seem to constitute a single stock dependent on each other for viability, the Zeya-Bureya lowlands populations appear to be independent of these populations (Shmigirilov 2007). Meanwhile, in the upper middle Amur River, between Heihe and Qingdeli, fish of the same age are larger than stocks in the lower middle reach, and the spawning individuals in the lower middle reach are older than those in the upper middle reach (Zhuang 2002).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered A2bd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-10-24
Assessor(s): Ruban, G. & Qiwei, W.
Reviewer(s): Pourkazemi, M. & Smith, K.
Justification:
A decline in catch has been observed since the end of the 19th century (Vaisman and Fomenko 2007).  Based on an estimated approximate linear decline and constant, continuing fishing pressure, this species is estimated to have undergone a population decline of  >95% over a three generation period of ~50 years (Ruban pers. comm). Therefore, this species has been assessed as Critically Endangered based on suspected population declines due to high fishing pressure.
History:
1996 Endangered (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
1996 Endangered
1994 Vulnerable (Groombridge 1994)
1990 Vulnerable (IUCN 1990)
1988 Vulnerable (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
1986 Vulnerable (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species inhabits the entire Amur River basin from the estuary to the river's upper reaches. It occurs in tributaries - the Shilka, Onon, Argun, Nerch, Sungari, Nonni and Ussuri Rivers (Krykhtin and Svirskii 1997) - and extremely rarely occurs in Lake Khanka (Krykhtin and Svirskii 1997).
Countries:
Native:
China; Russian Federation
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Currently, complete population data based on results of direct counts and fishery statistics do not exist for this species. A decline of catches has been observed since the end of the 19th century (Vaisman and Fomenko 2007). Russian catches of the Amur Sturgeon in the Amur River Basin declined from 607 tonnes in 1891 to about 14 tonnes in 2006 (Krykhtin and Svirskii 1997, Vaisman and Fomenko 2007).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Habitat: All types of benthic habitats (on or near the bottom) in large rivers and lakes.

Biology: Freshwater. The Amur Sturgeon spawns in lower reaches of the Amur River in strong-current habitats in the main stream of the river, on gravel or sandy-gravel bottom. Spawning peaks from the end of May to July. Adults spawn many times during their life cycle. Spawning periodicity is 4-5 years in females and 3-4 years in males. The generation length of the species ranges from 12 to more than 45 years (Krykhtin and Svirskii 1997; Berg 1948), with an estimated average 3 generation period of ~50 years.
Systems: Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is used in research, as well as for human consumption.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The causes of the population declines are still overfishing, both legal and poaching (Vaisman and Fomenko 2007).

Recently, environmental pollution in the Amur River basin threatens the habitat and reproduction of this species (Shmigirilov et al. 2007, Chen 2007).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The majority of 'conservation' measures historically were directed to control local and national fisheries. Commercial sturgeon fishing was prohibited in the Soviet Union during the periods 1923-1930, 1958-1976 and from 1984 to the present (Vaisman and Fomenko 2007).  The Amur Sturgeon was listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1998.

Citation: Ruban, G. & Qiwei, W. 2010. Acipenser schrenckii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 25 July 2014.
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