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Acipenser dabryanus 

Scope: Global
Status_ne_offStatus_dd_offStatus_lc_offStatus_nt_offStatus_vu_offStatus_en_offStatus_cr_onStatus_ew_offStatus_ex_off

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Acipenseriformes Acipenseridae

Scientific Name: Acipenser dabryanus
Species Authority: Duméril, 1869
Common Name(s):
English Yangtze Sturgeon, River Sturgeon, Dabry's Sturgeon

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) A2bcd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-10-23
Assessor(s): Qiwei, W.
Reviewer(s): Pourkazemi, M., Zhang, H., Du, H. & Smith, K.
Justification:
This species is endemic to China and is restricted to the Yangtze River system. It has recently been extirpated from the lower reaches of river and is now restricted to the upper main stream in the Sichuan Province. It also enters major tributaries, including the Ming, Tuo, and Jialing rivers. In the late 20th century population numbers declined drastically due to overfishing and habitat degradation. Incidental catch data between 1982 and 2008 indicate that since 1982 only tens of specimens are being captured annually. Artificial propagation began in 1976 by the Chongqing Fisheries Institute, China. Since 2007, more than 5,000 individuals have been released into the upper reaches of the Yangtze River for stock rehabilitation (Zhang et al. 2009). Dam construction has caused major adverse effects to the habitat of this species and have resulted in a reduction in its area of occurrence of this species. The naturally occurring population is considered to be very small and it is thought this species only survives in the wild due to restocking. No evidence exists to show that re-stocked animals are reproducing in the wild. Therefore, due to inferred and suspected population declines, along with a decrease in the area of occupancy and historical overfishing, this species has been assessed as Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct).
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to China and is restricted to the Yangtze River system. Historically, under the natural, unaltered conditions that existed until the middle of the 20th century, this species inhabited the upper and middle reaches of the Yangtze River and its large tributaries, including the Ming, Tuo, Jialing, Xiang and Han rivers, as well as the large lakes linking attached to the Yangtze River.

A. dabryanus has recently (possibly since 1995) been extirpated from the lower river and is restricted to the upper main stream of the Yangtze River in the Sichuan Province. It also enters major tributaries, including the Ming, Tuo, and Jialing rivers. (Zhuang et al. 1997).
Countries occurrence:
Possibly extinct:
China
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The natural population of this species was not considered to be large. Historically, this was an important species in commercial fisheries of the upper reaches of the Yangtze River (Chen 2007). In the late 20th century population numbers declined drastically because of overfishing and habitat degradation. Incidental catch data between 1982 and 2008 indicate that since 1982 only tens of specimens are being captured annually and there have been no capture records below the Gezhouba Dam since 1995. The stock has dropped markedly during the past 20 to 30 years and now the production is so small and scattered, that no exact account of total production is reported. Artificial propagation began in 1976 by the Changjianq Fisheries Institute, China. Since 2007, more than 5,000 individuals have been released into the upper reaches of the Yangtze River for stock rehabilitation (Zhang et al. 2009).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This is a small sturgeon species that is permanently resident in freshwater. It usually inhabits the middle and lower layers of the water and prefers slow moving water that is rich in humus, and feeds on demersal organisms (those that live at or near the bottom of a body of water).

This species spawns in upper reaches of the Yangtze River, in the spring (March-April) and the autumn (October-December). Its key spawning reach is between Maoshui and Heijang, a stretch of 321.7 km (The Chanjiang Aquatic Resources Survey Group 1988).
Systems:Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):9

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is taken from the wild for human consumption and research purposes.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species has historically experienced unsustainable levels of fishing. Furthermore, mesh sizes of fishing nets have reduced, thereby capturing young, especially during the periods when many juveniles concentrate to feed.

Fishing effort and intensity has also increased in the past, for example in the Neijiang reach of the Tuo River there were only 500 fishing boats in 1950s, but this number increased to about 2000 by 1985. In the Leshan Reach of the Ming River, drift gill nets are crowded together from day to night.

The primary traditional fishing season in the main stream of Yangzte River is between March and August, with more than 30% of the catch processed between April and May. However, this is also spawning season of A. dabryanus, therefore spawning stock are particularly vulnerable to capture.

Furthermore, the construction of the Gezhouba Dam in 1981 and the Three Gorges Dam in 2003 have caused major adverse effects to the habitat of this species and have resulted in a reduction in the area of occurrence of this species, which is now restricted to the upstream river, above the dams. More recently, the construction of the Xiangjiaba Dam in 2008 is situated in the middle of this species spawning reach and therefore is expected to adversely affect the population through habitat fragmentation and associated habitat degradation.

Additionally pollution from increasing human development affects the entire Yangtze basin. Much untreated waste water discharges into the river each year. Water quality is also affected by run-off caused by deforestation of the the upper Yangtze Valley (Zhuang et al. 1997).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: A three month seasonal fishing ban between February and April was introduced in 2002 in the upper Yangtze River.

This species has been listed as a First Class Protected Animal of the State since 1988, and has received the same effective protection as Acipenser sinensis. This species was also listed on CITES Appendix II in 1998.

Artificial propagation was first carried out in 1976. Since 2007 more than 5000 juveniles have been released into the upper Yangtze River for stock rehabilitation, but these species are not thought to be breeding in the wild and no larvae have been seen in recent years.

It is considered that the survival of this species is entirely reliant on restocking efforts, without which this species would possibly become extinct (Zhang et al. 2009).

Since the 1970s, the Institute of Aquatic Products of Sichuan Province have increased efforts regarding raising and breeding of A. dabryanus. For example young A. dabryanus from the Yangtze River have been introduced into the Changshou City reservoir for culturing (The Changjiang Aquatic Resources Survey Group 1988).

In 2000 the first national nature reserve was created in the upper Yangzte river. The area of this reserve was extended in 2005 to mitigate the conflict between hydroelectric projects and the maintenance of the functionality of the ecosystem. The reserve is now the largest aquatic reserve in China, which has a total length of 1162.6 km (including 436.5 km of the main river) (Zhang et al. 2009).

Classifications [top]

5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.1. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls)
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.10. Marine Neritic - Estuaries
suitability:Suitable  
15. Artificial/Aquatic & Marine -> 15.1. Artificial/Aquatic - Water Storage Areas (over 8ha)
suitability:Marginal  
15. Artificial/Aquatic & Marine -> 15.2. Artificial/Aquatic - Ponds (below 8ha)
suitability:Marginal  
15. Artificial/Aquatic & Marine -> 15.3. Artificial/Aquatic - Aquaculture Ponds
suitability:Marginal  
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
1. Land/water protection -> 1.2. Resource & habitat protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
2. Land/water management -> 2.3. Habitat & natural process restoration
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management
3. Species management -> 3.3. Species re-introduction -> 3.3.2. Benign introduction
3. Species management -> 3.4. Ex-situ conservation -> 3.4.1. Captive breeding/artificial propagation
4. Education & awareness -> 4.1. Formal education
4. Education & awareness -> 4.2. Training
4. Education & awareness -> 4.3. Awareness & communications
5. Law & policy -> 5.1. Legislation -> 5.1.2. National level

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.4. Marine & freshwater aquaculture -> 2.4.2. Industrial aquaculture
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

4. Transportation & service corridors -> 4.3. Shipping lanes
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.1. Intentional use: (subsistence/small scale)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.2. Intentional use: (large scale)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.3. Unintentional effects: (subsistence/small scale)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.4. Unintentional effects: (large scale)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.2. Dams & water management/use -> 7.2.11. Dams (size unknown)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.3. Indirect species effects -> 2.3.8. Other

8. Invasive & other problematic species & genes -> 8.1. Invasive non-native/alien species -> 8.1.1. Unspecified species
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.3. Indirect species effects -> 2.3.1. Hybridisation

8. Invasive & other problematic species & genes -> 8.2. Problematic native species
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.3. Indirect species effects -> 2.3.1. Hybridisation

9. Pollution -> 9.1. Domestic & urban waste water -> 9.1.1. Sewage
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

9. Pollution -> 9.1. Domestic & urban waste water -> 9.1.2. Run-off
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

9. Pollution -> 9.1. Domestic & urban waste water -> 9.1.3. Type Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

9. Pollution -> 9.2. Industrial & military effluents -> 9.2.3. Type Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

9. Pollution -> 9.3. Agricultural & forestry effluents -> 9.3.1. Nutrient loads
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

9. Pollution -> 9.3. Agricultural & forestry effluents -> 9.3.2. Soil erosion, sedimentation
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

9. Pollution -> 9.3. Agricultural & forestry effluents -> 9.3.3. Herbicides and pesticides
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
1. Research -> 1.6. Actions
2. Conservation Planning -> 2.1. Species Action/Recovery Plan
2. Conservation Planning -> 2.3. Harvest & Trade Management Plan
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓   National : ✓ 

♦  Research
 Local : ✓   National : ✓  International : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Chen, X. 2007. Biological characteristics and current situation of resource of species of Acipenseriformes [in Chinese]. Ocean Publishing House, Beijing.

Fan, X.G., Wei, Q.W., Chang, J., Rosenthal, H., He, J.X., Chen, D.Q., Shen, L., Du, H. and Yang, D.G. 2006. A review on conservation issues in the upper Yangtze River – a last chance for a big challenge: Can Chinese paddlefish (Psephurus gladius), Dabry's sturgeon, (Acipenser dabryanus) and other fish species still be saved? Journal of Applied Ichthyology 22(suppl 1): 32–39.

Institute of Hydrobiology. 1976. Fishes of the Yangtze River [in Chinese]. Fishes study department, Institute of Hydrobiology, Hubei Province., Science Press, Beijing.

IUCN. 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2010.1). Available at: www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 10 March 2010).

The Yangtze Aquatic Resources Survey Group. 1988. The biology of the sturgeon in Yangtze and their artificial propagation [in Chinese]. The Yangtze Aquatic Resources Survey Group, Sichuan Scientific and Technical Publishing House, Chengdu.

Wang, S., Yue, P.Q. and Chen, Y.Y. 1998. China red data book of endangered animals – fishes [in Chinese]. National Environmental Protection Agency & Endangered Species Scientific Commission, P.R.C., Scinence Press, Beijing, Hong Kong, New York.

Wan, Q.H., Fang, S.G. and Li, Y.N. 2003. The loss of genetic diversity in Dabry's sturgeon (Acipenser dabryanus, Dumeril) as revealed by DNA fingerprinting. Aquatic Conservation - Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 13(3): 225–231.

Wei, Q., He, J., Yang, D., Zheng, W. and Li, L. 2004. Status of sturgeon aquaculture and sturgeon trade in China: a review based on two recent nationwide surveys. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 20: 321–332.

Xin. G, Jian. W.W. and Brosse, S. 2009. Threatened fishes of the world Acipenser dabryanus. Environmental Biology of Fishes 85: 117–118.


Citation: Qiwei, W. 2010. Acipenser dabryanus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T231A13041556. . Downloaded on 29 July 2016.
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