Save the Sturgeon

Recovery of the Atlantic and European Sturgeon in the UK

The sturgeon is a group of ancient fish species whose forebearers have been around since the time of the dinosaurs.  There are two species that once were once common in our coasts and rivers: the Atlantic and the European sturgeon. The numbers of Atlantic and European sturgeon were decimated in the 1800s due over-exploitation and barriers to freshwater spawning grounds.

In 2019, ZSL co-initiated UK Sturgeon Working Group, bringing together government, NGOs and industry to readdress the population collapse and to start the recovery of sturgeon in our waters.

Our shared vision is:

Restoring a self-sustaining UK population of native sturgeon as a flagship for healthy estuarine and river systems, contributing to the pan-European recovery of this critically endangered species and realising their societal importance.

In 2020, we co-formed the UK Sturgeon Alliance in partnership with Institute of Fisheries Management, Nature at Work, Severn Rivers Trust and Blue Marine Foundation to deliver this vision.

To read more about our work to save the sturgeon, and to report a sturgeon sighting, visit

Photo of an Atlantic sturgeon underwater, just above the riverbed.
Atlantic sturgeon

The facts: 

  • Globally, 85% of sturgeon are at risk of extinction making them the most threatened group of animals on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
  • 27 species of sturgeon are on the IUCN Red List with 63% Critically Endangered.
  • Four species are now possibly extinct.
  • The UK native sturgeon, the Atlantic sturgeon Aspenser sturio is listed as Critically Endangered.