Queen Elizabeth II-protected ‘royal fish’ could be returned to British waters


THE QUEEN technically owns all whales and sturgeons caught in UK waters and they are considered “royal fish”. Now the endangered European sturgeon could make a comeback to Britain under a new proposal to protect their breeding grounds.

European sturgeon can grow to 20 feet in length and live for more than 100 years and now a proposal to protect it could see the endangered species make a comeback in the UK.

The UK Sturgeon Alliance is a coalition of campaigning groups seeking to restore Britain’s sturgeon population.

Research by the group has found at least nine records of large sturgeon being caught between 1852 and 1977 on Dogger Bank, in the heart of the North Sea.

According to the campaigners, banning trawling on Dogger Bank, a marine protected area that has little protection from fishing, could help the Sturgeon population return.

Executive director of the Blue Marine Foundation and member of the Alliance Charles Clover told the Times: “If the needs of the sturgeon were fully considered and damaging fishing methods were excluded from the Dogger Bank, as we believe they already should be by law, we might see a recovery of these extraordinary fish in European waters within a couple of decades.”

Mr Clover claimed the endangered fish had been neglected by science but should no longer be ignored.

He said: “It is amazing that these dinosaur fish are still holding on in our heavily used seas.”

He added: “Sturgeon are so rare that they have slipped under the radar when it comes to science and this must be rectified.”

Professor of marine conservation at the University of Exeter, Callum Roberts, told the Times: “This new evidence shows that the Dogger Bank is an important potential habitat for sturgeon, just as it is for flapper, blue and longnose skates, all of which are also either very rare or absent from the bank today.

“Protection of the Dogger Bank from destructive fishing is a necessary prerequisite for the reintroduction and recovery of these important species, and for the rewilding of this and other offshore UK marine reserves.”

The Government is currently considering strengthening the protection of Dogger Bank and four other marine protected areas.

What animals does Queen Elizabeth II own by law?

As well as sturgeons and wales the Queen also owns dolphins found in UK waters.

The Queen also owns all “unmarked mute swans swimming in open waters” in Britain.

Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II: A new campaign has been launched to return the royal fish to the UK (Image: GETTY)

However, the Royal Family website states that the crown “exercises her ownership” only “on certain stretches of the Thames and its surrounding tributaries”.

An event called “Swan Upping” takes places every year in which swans in the River Thames are caught, ringed, and set free again as part of a census of the swan population.

As well as having a legal right to several species the Queen keeps and breeds animals of her own.

The Queen is known for her beloved dorgi dogs and is also one of the biggest racehorse owners and breeders in Britain.


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