In Europe eight species of sturgeon are endemic, seven of which are critically endangered. The EU habitats Directive lists all eight species and the latest reporting under Art17 of the Directive assessed seven species as “Unfavourable bad”, meaning they are in “serious danger of becoming extinct”. Despite their high risk of extinction, five sturgeon species are listed solely in Annex V of the Habitats Directive, which only obliges Member States to ensure that their exploitation and removal from the wild is compatible with maintaining them in a favourable conservation status. As a result of the lack of listing of these sturgeon species in Annexes II and IV of the Habitats Directive, many Member States have deprioritised these sturgeon species in their Priority Action Frameworks or national funding commitments.
With this letter we strongly urge the Commission to take this opportunity to include additional legally binding targets in the future biodiversity restoration law for the sturgeon species currently covered by Annex V of the Habitats Directive.