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Sturgeon (Acipenser Sturio)

A large migratory fish (growing up to 4 metres), which lives in the sea, but goes up river to spawn. The sturgeon was fairly common around the waters of Western Europe in previous centuries, but is now a rarity - only found on the Gironde in France and Guadalquivir in Spain (flowing into The Gulf of Cadiz).

The Western Atlantic is not so sparsely populated, however, with quite a few fish being caught along the east coast of the U.S.A - so much so that caviar is still produced. But much has changed since the glory days of the end of the 19th century, when about 1 million pounds of sturgeon were landed in New York and New Jersey alone in one year. This figure was down to about 250 tons by 1961, and is now less still - the decrease is put down to pollution rather than over fishing.

If finding sturgeon on offer, it should be treated like veal or tuna - perhaps cut into steaks and slowly braised. Smoked sturgeon is delicious!

In the Eastern Atlantic there are three main breeds used for producing caviar - in descending order of size these are: Beluga, Osietra and Sevruga. See 'Caviar'

If you enjoy cooking take a minute to look at ‘Simon Scrutton French Cookery Classes’ on Google – and learn how to make top class bistro-style dishes. Suitable for beginners upwards. Small classes.

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