he Chinese paddlefish, or Psephurus gladius, dubbed “China’s King of Freshwater Fish,” was officially announced as extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on July 21, 2022.
The IUCN’s latest Red List of Threatened Species showed that the Chinese paddlefish is completely extinct and the Acipenser dabryanus, known as the Dabry’s or Yangtze Sturgeon, is extinct in the wild. The Red List raised the protection level for seven other species of sturgeon.
A predatory fish with a long snout, the Chinese paddlefish is generally 2-3 meters long and weighs 200-300 kilograms. Its main habitat was the Yangtze River. Chinese media reports said that it was last seen there in 2003.
According to the IUCN, sturgeons are endangered by excessive fishing for sales of wild caviar and fish meat, dams that destroy sturgeons’ migration paths and excessive mining that destroys breeding grounds and habitats.
The Chinese government has issued programs to protect sturgeons in the Yangtze River. In 2021, the Chinese government banned fishing in the Yangtze for 10 years to aid ecological recovery.