Videos are going viral showing Siberian poachers taking a ‘Kaluga’, the largest freshwater fish in the world, from the Amur region in Russia’s Far East.
The kaluga is a huge predatory sturgeon and is claimed to be the largest freshwater fish in the world, with a maximum size of 1,000 kilograms (2,205 lb) and 5.6 metres (18ft 4inches), reported The Siberian Times. With a lifespan equal to human, it is now critically endangered and fishing kaluga is strictly prohibited. Despite this the fish is in demand for its roe, a caviar delicacy.
‘This fish can only be caught for breeding’, Roman Podolko, ichthyologist of Nora nature reserve, explained, added The Siberian Times.
‘We are observing a ridiculous case of poaching on the video.
‘Apparently, a precious adult fish was caught. What if it was a female about to spawn?
‘Serious damage to nature has been caused.
‘Kaluga are like humans, they live up to 50-60 years of age and start spawning only when they reach 14-15 years of age.’
The kaluga has been hunted to near extinction for its valuable roe. Despite constant anti-poaching patrols, poachers still continue to catch the fish. Fishing for kaluga anywhere in the Amur River is an offense punishable by law. However, kalugas are known to have an aggressive nature, and instances of them toppling fishing boats and drowning fishermen have been reported, although no concrete evidence exists of them assaulting or hunting people, writes Wikipedia.
They are extremely vulnerable to extinction by poaching because they have late sexual maturity. On average their sexual maturity lasts from 6 to 25 years of age.
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