South West Wales

Welsh fishing catch sparks rare sturgeon alert

Sturgeon caught at Hobbs Point near Pembroke Dock, Pembrokeshire
Image caption The IFM released an image of the sturgeon caught in Pembrokeshire to alert other fishermen about the rare fish

Fishery officials say sea anglers need to be on the lookout for the rare sturgeon fish, after one was hooked off the Pembrokeshire coast.

The fish was caught by two boys fishing off Hobbs Point near Pembroke Dock.

It is only the second time in the last decade that a sturgeon has been spotted in UK waters - the last time also in Wales near Port Talbot in 2004.

As a protected species, officials say if other sturgeon are caught they must be released immediately.

"We are sure from the only photograph taken of the fish at Pembroke Dock that it was a sturgeon and that it may be the forerunner of others arriving here." said Steve Colclough, of the Institute of Fisheries Management (IFM).

"Where it came from is at present a mystery."

The IFM said it was releasing the picture of the fish caught in Pembrokeshire to raise awareness among the angling and commercial fishing communities.

Rare and protected

Famed for caviar, Mr Colclough said it is illegal to keep a sturgeon and anybody catching one should return it quickly unharmed and alive to the water and then report it.

"Before putting it back they should note as many facts as possible - its length, overall condition, signs of damage or disease, the data on any tag attached to it and take a good photo.

"A yellow tag would show the fish had probably migrated from the Gironde river in France where the European sturgeon is now being bred and released."

The fish would normally stay in the Gironde until they were about 10 years old and they might then migrate to the open sea.

"If they came to Wales they would most likely be caught in estuaries and still be juvenile fish. Normally they would live 50 or 60 years and grow up to three-metres long (about 10ft)," added the IFM expert.

The IFM said if anyone did see another sturgeon off either the Welsh or English coast, it should be reported to the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites