A primitive fish dating back to approximately 250 million years ago, it has a cartilaginous skeleton, osseous plates on the body, no fishbone and scale, a shark-shaped body, ventral mouth with four barbels, no teeth, heterocercal tail. The sea sturgeon can reach 1.5 kilo weight and 9m length. From the females of at least 10 years of age it is possible to obtain the eggs, known as caviar. Appreciated for its delicious flesh, the gastrosopher and cook Pellegrino Artusi mentioned it in its famous book "La scienza in cucina" written in the late 19th century. Until a few decades ago, the rivers of the upper Adriatic area, from the river Po to Livenza, Piave, and Sile were populated by sturgeons and they represented a source of richness. At the moment, it is considered a critically endangered species: the efforts for its production in captivity have been successfully increased both to bring it at table and to repopulate the fish fauna of our rivers.
The Adriatic Sturgeon (Acipenser naccarii) is an endemic species living exclusively in the upper Adriatic Sea and its main tributaries (Po, Adige, Tagliamento, Piave, etc.). It has a tapered spindle-shaped body covered with 5 series of osseous shields. It has a long, triangular, and rostrum-shaped head, a small mouth with 4 barbels in its ventral section, without teeth. The one and only back fin is situated towards the bottom; the caudal fin has a longer upper part. The eye is small. It has a dark grey color on the back, lighter on the belly. The length goes from 50 cm to 4 meters. Its white flesh is very appreciated, although it is rather fat. Caviar is obtained from its eggs, a glue from its swimming bladder, and oil to burn from its fat.