Alex is a Project Coordinator dedicated to saving sturgeon, the most critically endangered group of species on the planet. This work can potentially pave the way for future restoration of other lost species.
Alex will be able to undertake the first UK case study looking into the feasibility of restoration and potential reintroduction of the native European sturgeon. The funding will specifically help Alex to do more detailed fieldwork in the Greater Severn estuary area. The project lays the foundation for bringing sturgeon back to UK waters, which will have a great impact on the global recovery of species.
Sturgeon are prehistoric fish that have been around for 200 million years. Today, the species are Critically Endangered due to human impacts. If we don’t act, they will go extinct. Bringing back sturgeon can also pave the way for the future restoration of other lost species.
Alex is a Project Coordinator for Blue Marine Foundation working to bring back native sturgeon to the UK.
Funding will help Alex to undertake more detailed fieldwork in the Greater Severn estuary area. It will be the first UK case study looking into the feasibility of restoration and potential reintroduction of the native European sturgeon.
Alex's work also includes understanding the extent of non-native sturgeon in UK ecosystems and working with stakeholders to prevent further escapes. This helps ensure the validity of native wild stocks and protects ecosystems.
Funding will also help contribute to education programs to raise awareness and gain support for native sturgeon restoration.
Alex's work also includes habitat restoration and connectivity of the river system through the removal and alteration of barriers. By restoring habitats and the connectivity of rivers, we’re also helping to improve the overall ecosystems for a whole suite of species.
The UK Sturgeon Database has discovered records of over 5,000 native sturgeons in the UK’s inland and coastal waters since the 1600s.
From the database, it has been shown that the UK is a natural crossover range for two sturgeon species, European and Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser sturio and Acipenser oxyrinchus).
Alex and the Freshwater Biological Association (FBA) have uncovered a link between European sturgeon and giant freshwater pearl mussels. The mussels disappeared at a similar rate and time as the sturgeon. They have a parasitic form of reproduction that requires a sturgeon as a host for their offspring. Restoration of the host could lead to the restoration of the mussels.
It has been discovered that sturgeon occupy high-quality marine environments, many of which are Marine Protected Areas, such as the Dogger Bank, east of the UK. This discovery has led to stronger protection in the Dogger Bank and could lead to stronger protection in other MPAs.
Alex is on a mission to bring back this giant prehistoric fish that could also save river ecosystems.