AZERBAIJAN – something borrowed
Sturgeon are the most critically endangered group of species on the planet. These prehistoric fish can live for over 100 years and grow larger than Great white sharks. They were once a common sight in the estuaries and rivers of Azerbaijan as they made their way up river to lay their precious eggs, known to us as caviar. They were often accompanied by the great Caspian salmon. However, river dams, pollution, overfishing and the growing demand for caviar have all led to the demise of these Caspian giants. In 2018, BLUE saw the designation of the first marine protected area (MPA) in the Caspian Sea and a countrywide ban on deadly gillnets from rivers. The next steps are to provide alternative livelihoods for local ‘poaching’ communities, restore river habitats, reintroduce healthy fish to rivers and strengthen river and marine protection. This is the last chance to ensure the survival of some of the rarest fish on earth.