Historically the species was present in the sea from Venice and Trieste, to Greece and Corfù (Berg 1932); and in the Venetian lagoons during fall (Faber 1883). It was recorded in the rivers Adige, Brenta, Bacchiglione, Livenza, Piave, Tagliamento, and Po (and its affluents); once it was recorded up to Turin (Festa 1892); at Carignano and Carmagnola (Delmastro 1982); and in the Po delta (Tortonese 1989, Paccagnella 1948, D'Ancona 1924, Pavesi 1907); in the Ticino and Adda rivers (Bernini and Nardi 1989, 1990); along the Albanian coasts (Filipini et al. 1956); and Croatia (Mrakovic et al. 1995), Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro (Lake Skadar). It was last recorded from Albania in 1997 in the Buna River (Ludwig et al. 2003). There is evidence that the species was previously found in Greece (Economidis 1973) but it is no longer known there. It was reintroduced to Greece (Pascos et al. 2003) but there is no evidence that it has established a viable population. There have been conflicting opinions regarding its presence in Spain.
At present, as a consequence of a recovery plan carried out by several public institutions from 1990 to 2007, specimens have been recorded in the Po River and its inflow rivers (Ticino, Adda, Oglio, Mincio), and in the rivers Adige, Livenza, Piave, Tagliamento. The Isola Serafini Dam on the middle of the Po River, prevents the migratory movements of the downstream populations into the upstream part of the river. There is no evidence available for natural spawning of wild or released individuals.
Habitat and Ecology
From 10 to 40 meters.
Habitat: demersal. Found mainly over sand and mud. Feeds on bottom-living invertebrates and small fishes. The flesh is used for food but the eggs are not consumed as caviar (Ref. 6866).
Life History and Behavior
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Acipenser naccarii
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
The species is assessed as Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) under criterion A2, on the basis of an estimated population decline of greater than 80% (possibly 100%) in the past three generations (60 years). This population decline is based on a decline in the extent of occurrence (EOO), area of occupancy (AOO), and catch data, and was caused by over-harvesting (both legal and illegal), loss of access to spawning grounds (dams), and pollution (industrial and agricultural).
The remaining potential suitable spawning grounds are restricted to very few areas in the Po River with an AOO of less than 10 km² (one location). There may still be some wild individuals left, but it is unknown how many there may be; potentially there are less than 250. Without continuous re-stocking the survival of this species is doubtful as continued successful reproduction in the wild can no longer be confirmed.
For the EU 27 region, the species is also assessed as Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) (CR(PE) A2bcde;B2ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)).
- 2010Critically Endangered
- 2009Critically Endangered(IUCN 2010.1)
A genetic comparison between Italian and Albanian samples collected some decades ago showed a high level of diversification and suggested that the different populations should be considered as distinct conservation units (Ludwig et al. 2003).
The species was reintroduced to Greece (Pascos et al. 2003), but there is no evidence that it has established a viable population. It is considered as regionally extinct in Croatia, Albania and Montenegro.
Of approximately 2,000 specimens of A. naccarii fished in the Po River and sold at the fish market between 1981 and 1988, more than 80% of the specimens weighed less than 3.5 kg, having been taken before the reproductive phase (Rossi et al. 1991).
Together with other sturgeon species that once were present in Italy (A. sturio and Huso huso), the capture of the species is forbidden by law in the regions of the Padana valley, Lombardia, Emilia Romagna and Veneto.
Artificial reproduction in fish farm (ex-situ) is effective and has been successful since 1988, from an original population caught from the wild in the 1970s and from F1, and the species is continuously restocked in Italy. However, there is no evidence to confirm continuing reproduction in the wild.
A recovery plan for this species has been carried out by several public administrations since the early 1990s, with scientific research and restocking actions of about a total of half millions of specimens of different size reintroduced in the public waters (rivers Adda, Oglio, Piave, Po). The last part of the plan was supported also by a Life project.
A project for a fish passage allowing to the fish to overcome the Isola Serafini's dam is under evaluation by the public authority. This project was proposed in occasion of the building of a new and bigger navigation lock close by the old one on the Po river, in the Province of Piacenza.
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
The Adriatic sturgeon (Acipenser naccarii) is or was a species of fish in the Acipenseridae family. It is found in Albania, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Montenegro, and Slovenia. It can be found at the Milan Aquarium, Aquarium Finisterrae, Aquarium of the Po, and the protected area of Oasis of Sant'Alessio in Lombardy.
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