Scientific name: Huso Huso
The beluga is in the sturgeon family (Acipenseridae) and is the largest sturgeon in the world. It is found primarily in the Caspian and Black Sea basins, and occasionally in the Adriatic Sea. Heavily fished for the female's valuable roe—known as beluga caviar— the beluga is a huge and late-maturing fish. Its height can be from 1/5 to 4 meters and also its normal and usual weight can be between 40-300 kg but it can reach to 1 ton too. It was amazing that several years ago a 1250kg sturgeon was caught in Iran and it had 230 kg pure caviar.
These large fish can take up to 18 years to reach sexual maturity and even then will only spawn once in every two to four years. Adults migrate upstream in the spring or autumn to spawn in shallow pools; a single female can produce between 300,000 and 7.5 million eggs, which are attached to stones on the pool floor.
Sturgeon has survived since the time of the dinosaurs but some populations of the beluga are today threatened with commercial extinction, principally as a result of overfishing. In addition, habitat destruction through the pollution of coastal habitats and the alteration of river systems through dams, pollution and silting have further affected beluga numbers. The eggs are highly prized as caviar, for both their quality and quantity. The beluga is the most famous of the caviar sturgeons.