Field Note on Nature
St. Petersburg, Russia
I just went to the aquarium in St. Petersburg with a friend! I got to see all kinds of sea life from around the world. There was one particular fish I found extremely interesting. One that is very well known by the Russian people! Read on to find out what fish it was!
The interesting fish I saw at the aquarium is called the Russian Sturgeon. They can also be called the diamond sturgeon. Take out a map. If you look at that map of the world, can you find the Caspian and the Black Seas? They’re very close to St. Petersburg, Russia. These two seas are located on the eastern part of Europe. Find them? That’s mainly where Russian Sturgeons can be found!
When I was at the aquarium with my friend, Dana, I learned a lot about the Russian Sturgeon. This fish can grow to be almost 8 feet long and can weigh over 200 pounds! They are big predatory fish, which means they like to eat other fish in their natural habitats. I was surprised to find out that they can even eat small water animals like ducks. If they are hungry enough and, they’ll hunt down baby seals too!
I couldn’t believe it when I first read about these facts. The ones I saw at the aquarium must have been very young because they were much smaller than 8 feet long. They also looked so cute! Dana told me she has always been fond of these fish. She thinks they are very sweet and friendly, especially with humans. She told me when she was young, she saw one in the water while she was on a lake with her father. It let her pet and touch its back.
When I saw these fish for the first time, they reminded me of small sharks. They have long, slender bodies and the fins on their bodies are located in similar places to that of a shark. It looks like their spine sticks out because of the bumpy ridges that go along their backs. The Russian sturgeon also has long, pointed snouts. The rounded tips of their snouts and the whiskers right beneath them make them look super cute! As I watched them swim along the tank, I thought they were very calm and easygoing fish. How could they be such aggressive predators?
Well, I later found out that Russians love to hunt these fish! The Russian people like to hunt them for their meat and their eggs. Fish eggs are also called caviar. In Russia, caviar is a delicacy! The Russian Sturgeon’s meat and caviar is in such high demand that they have started to breed them. They now breed them in large fish farms with the sole purpose of selling them to big supermarkets and local people.
Russian Sturgeon are so popular with the Russian people and their cuisine that they have become an endangered species. They have been overfished throughout the years! Russian sturgeon do not grow quickly and they also do not reproduce quickly either. This makes it hard for them to keep repopulating and existing!
My friend, Dana, explained to me that Russia is taking steps to protect this endangered species. I was happy to hear that they have begun creating laws against hunting and fishing the wild Russian sturgeon which have not been bred in captivity. I hope that Russia continues to make changes in order to protect these cute fish! I would hate to think that another species of wildlife has become extinct because of humans.