Oldest and Most Endangered Fish

Archaic giants of the fish world, sturgeon fossils have been found dating back to the Jurassic period. Despite having survived for millions of years, the IUCN has stated that, due to overfishing and habitat loss, they are “more critically endangered than any other group of species.” Sturgeon is the common name encompassing roughly 29 different species of fish in the Acipenseridae family, many of which are famous for the caviar harvested from their eggs. These fishy beasts commonly grow to about 2-3 meters (7-10 feet) in length, with some specimens reaching up to 8 meters (26.2 feet) long! Not only are they one of the largest growing bony fish, they are the longest living as well; capable of reaching 100 years or more.

Diving with sturgeons is like stepping back in time; watching these bony plated ancient fish cruise the cool waters of lakes and rivers is a special experience. They are native to, and in greatest abundance in, freshwater lakes and large rivers of North America and the rivers of southern Russia and Ukraine. They are a migrating animals, some of which live in both fresh and saltwater, swimming from the sea to rivers and lake shores in the early summer months to breed. Some have been known to venture out to the open ocean while others are exclusively freshwater species. If diving with thems is on your bucket list, click on the map below to find the best dive sites where they have been sighted.