Centuries ago, our ancestors hunted the huge great sturgeon that annually migrated from the Black Sea to the Danube spawning grounds both near Bratislava and many kilometres further upstream into large tributaries. This mega fish - which can weigh more than a ton and measure more than six meters - was last seen here in 1957. These impressive fish disappeared from the Danube due to overfishing and the construction of the Iron Gates I/II dam on the Serbian/Romanian border over 50 years ago.
A replica of the fish is displayed at the SNM - Museum of Natural History on Vajanského nábreží, while living fish – although much smaller - can be seen at the aquarium in Modrá and the eco-centre near Tiszafüred in Hungary. The whitefish sexually matures between 15 and 20 years old, and lives to be over 100 years old. Although they can survive in fresh water, they cannot reproduce naturally there.
Today, white sturgeon and other large sturgeon are hunted for their prized black caviar, with each fish having tens or even hundreds of kilograms. Commercial fishing takes place mainly in the Caspian Sea - the fish are caught, the eggs removed, and the fish body thrown back into the sea. This barbaric practise results in tons of high-quality meat being unnecessarily wasted.