As an ancient rare fish species only found in China, Chinese Sturgeon was classified as a fist grade state protection animal. It is a member of family Acipenseridae and is thought to have lived at the same time with dinosaurs, over 140 million years ago. Just like the Giant Panda, the Chinese Sturgeon has a great value in the field of academic research. It is regarded as a living fossil in the study of the evolution process of the fish and the vertebrate. In addition, it has important economic value. It is called as “national treasure in the water”, together with Chinese paddlefish, who lives in the same water area with it.
What it looks like?
With a big bone-like scales, a tapering head and a mouth below the jaw, the body of the Chinese Sturgeon is similar to that of a shark. The physical appearance of the Chinese Sturgeon is special and bears the characteristics of ancient soft backbone fish and those of modern-day hard backbone fish, which shows that the biological evolution of Chinese sturgeons.
The Life Habit
Sturgeon are anadromous. In every September to November, the mature Chinese Sturgeon makes a round-trip journey from China’s eastern coast where they mature in the ocean, to their freshwater spawning grounds in the Yangtze River to reproduce. The calf will stay in the river for a period of time until they are mature and then they arrive at the river mouth from the sea, in June to July, and swim upstream. When they reach their spawning area, in September or October, they will overwinter until the following October and November to spawn. The mature Chinese Sturgeon is big and heavy. The male one usually weighs 68 to 106 kilograms, and the female one weighs about 130 to 250 kilograms. It is recorded that the heaviest Chinese Sturgeon is about 500 kilograms. The Chinese Sturgeon has a good fecundity. A pregnant sturgeon can produce about a million of roe at one time but with a low rate of survival. Although giant in the size, the Chinese Sturgeon eats genteelly. The stack food is mainly about the plankton, the plant debris. Occasionally, they eat tiddlers and shrimps.
The Protective Measures
Chinese officials have made efforts to safeguard the sturgeon, such as the curtailed fishing. The Chinese Sturgeon is of great importance in the study of the academic research and the evolution process of the fish and the vertebrate. For this reason, the Chinese Sturgeon has been classified as the "China's Class One Protected Animals" and the government has been studying ways to breed and preserve the endangered species. On one hand, the government carried out the policy of no fishing and brought the management of the Chinese Sturgeon management into the track of the legal system. On the other hand, they hold the activity of artificial reproduction and do research in Chinese Sturgeon. They set a conservation area below the Gezhouba Dam to serve as an alternative spawning ground.
Built in 1982, the Chinese Sturgeon Museum is part of the Chinese Sturgeon Institution of China which is using artificial breeding techniques to try to preserve this endangered species.They've also attempted to replenish the fish's dwindling numbers by breeding millions of fry in captivity and releasing them into their native rivers. What’s more, the government carried out a wide range of publicity and education activities. With the concentration of the social forces and the government of different levels, the consciousness of protecting the Chinese Sturgeon is increasing day by day.