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Mediterranean Sturgeon

In Spain, sturgeon had always been fished for its meat and roe, up until the 1970s, on the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts and along the banks of the rivers Guadalquivir, Ebro, Duero and Tajo.

These famous rivers of the Iberian peninsula would contain hoards of sturgeon filled with eggs and swimming upriver to reproduce, of the species A. nacarii and A. sturio, and in some cases even of the famous Beluga H.huso species.

Between the 1930s and 1960s, caviar production from the Guadalquivir was actively developed (the Acipenser naccarii species), and it was one of the two European caviars along with the French one (Acipenser sturio).

Historically, Iberian caviar, as in France or Russia, was a renowned and sought-after delicacy. In fact, there was a brand of Iberian caviar that was exported, with great success, even to Russia. Several tonnes were harvested each year.

During these decades, overexploitation of this Iberian species for its caviar, added to the construction of the Alcalá dam on the Guadalquivir river, caused the sturgeon to disappear. Only a few wild specimens of A. naccarii were left, swimming up the Po river in Italy.