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31 May 2011, 10:34
A pair of Siberian sturgeon which have been living in a Kent pond for the past 15 years have been given a new home at Portsmouth’s Blue Reef Aquarium.
The giant fish, which measure close to a metre in length, were donated to the aquarium after outgrowing their garden pond.
The fish, which are officially endangered in the wild, can live to be more than 60 years old and weigh up to 65kgs. The largest recorded specimen tipped the scales at a massive 210kgs.
Blue Reef’s Lindsay Holloway said: “We received a phone call from a man in Kent who said he had a pair of sturgeon which he had been looking after in his garden pond for 15 years.
“The fish were becoming too large for their pond and he wanted them to go somewhere where they could safely live out the rest of their lives.
“We get many enquiries from people asking if we can re-home their fish and other exotic pets, however these fish were particularly unusual and we agreed to take them on.
“After travelling to Kent to pick them up we brought them back to the aquarium and they are both in excellent condition. We monitored them in our quarantine area for several days and they are now on public display in our open-topped freshwater tank,” he added.
Siberian sturgeon have been in steep decline in the wild due to habitat loss, degradation and poaching. Up to 40% of the fish’s spawning habitat has been made inaccessible by damming.
As its name suggests, the fish is found in all of the major Siberian river basins. It is also found in Kazakhstan and China.
While wild catches of Siberian sturgeon have been generally declining, the fish is increasingly farmed both for meat and to produce caviar from its roe. The main producer of Siberian sturgeon caviar is France, while the largest meat producers are Russia and China.