Can you eat sturgeon?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat sturgeon?” and discuss is it safe to eat?

Can you eat sturgeon?

Yes, you can eat sturgeon. It may be cooked in a number of ways and is perfectly safe to eat. 

Sturgeons are ancient fish species of the Northern hemisphere. Their evolutionary history dates back to about 200–250 million years. In the last century, most of the natural sturgeon stocks inhabited the basins of the Sea of Azov, the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea; 90% of the world’s supply used to come from these areas (1).

What are the risks of eating sturgeon?

The risks of eating sturgeon are related to the possible high levels of mercury in the fish´s meat. Mercury exists in many forms in the aquatic environment including elemental mercury, dissolved and particulate ionic forms, and dissolved and particulate methylmercury (7).

High levels of mercury, in the form of methylmercury, were found in many body parts of sturgeon fish in a study conducted in Colombia.

Methylmercury (MeHg) counteracts the cardioprotective effects of omega-3 fatty acids. Neurological effects such as decreased measures of intelligence, difficulty in memory and cognition, and problems with gross and fine motor skills are some negative effects of the ingestion of high levels of mercury. 

Particularly vulnerable to the potential harmful effects from mercury exposure are infants and children because of their smaller body sizes, metabolism, and rapid growth (8).

What are the benefits of eating sturgeon?

The benefits of eating Sturgeon are the nutrients provided by the fish. The consumption of fish is related to many health benefits.

Fish provides low fat protein, omega-3 fatty acids and important minerals and vitamins. Regular consumption of fish brings positive effects in health, such as the reduction of the cholesterol levels and the incidence of heart diseases, decrease of the risk of a preterm delivery, and enhancement of the cognitive development (5). 

Omega-3 fatty acids are important in the prevention of arteriosclerosis and autoimmune disease and are also necessary for neural development of children (6).

Proteins in fish are easily digestible and are considered as superior from a nutritional point of view due to the excellent amino acid composition.

Fish is an important source of vitamin D, which is related to bone health. Deficiencies in vitamin D may increase the risks of bone fracture and are related to diabetes and heart diseases.

Fish contains calcium, which provides rigidity to the skeleton and plays a role in many if not most metabolic processes.  

Selenium is also found in fish. Selenium counteracts the negative effects of Mercury in the body. Low levels of selenium have been associated with myocardial infarcts and increased death rate from cardiovascular disease.

What is the composition of sturgeon?

The composition of fish is highly dependent on its diet. For the improvement of fisheries and to achieve maximum yields from resources of fresh water, it is necessary to provide an artificial feed, by which fish grow rapidly and attain maximum weight in the shortest possible time. 

According to studies, the composition of 100 g sturgeon is, approximately, as follows (2): 

  • 77.30 g moisture 
  • 13.06 g protein 
  • 6.71 g lipids 
  • 3.01 g Ash 

What is the flavor of sturgeon?

Sensory evaluation of sturgeon indicated that umami and saltiness were the main tastes perceived in steamed sturgeon meat. A total of 42 volatile compounds were detected as responsible for the flavor of this fish. 

Alcohols, esters, acids, aldehydes, ketones, furans, and other compounds constitute the characteristic flavor, which were described as having attributes such as rancid, sweet, and floral, bitter, fatty, mushroom, cheesy and others (3).

The sensory perception of eating uncooked or cooked fish differs greatly, due to changes in the flavor and texture. Heat treatment, dry-cured and smoked are common processing methods of most fish products that endow fish meat with a unique aroma and delicious taste. 

Compared with other multiple heat treatment methods (microwave heating, baking and frying et al.), steaming and boiling can effectively avoid the excessive oxidation of protein and fat in meat, and the total content of free amino acids in steamed meat is higher than that in boiled meat (3).

Is it safe to eat sturgeon raw?

No, as any other fish, sturgeon is not safe to be eaten raw or undercooked. Eating raw fish is always a risk, especially in the case of pregnant women and elderly subjects. 

Food fish contain bacteria pathogenic to humans, like Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella spp., Staphylococcus aureus, and Escherichia coli, and therefore consumption may entail risk for consumers. The consumption of raw or insufficiently heat-treated fish causes most outbreaks of food poisoning. 

The quality of raw material and hygiene conditions of processing and storage influence the level of microbiological contamination of fresh fish. A study showed that, although sturgeon fish was considered safe to eat, microbiological analysis showed the presence of aerobic and psychrophilic bacteria and Staphylococcus spp. contamination in this fish (4).


In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat sturgeon?” and we discussed is it safe to eat?


  1. Vasilyeva, Lydia M., et al. History, current status and prospects of sturgeon aquaculture in Russia. Aquac Res, 2019, 50, 979-993.
  2. Lee, Dong-Hoon, et al. Effects of dietary garlic powder on growth, feed utilization and whole body composition changes in fingerling sterlet sturgeon, Acipenser ruthenus. Asian-Austral j anim sci, 2014, 27, 1303-1310.
  3. Qian, Siyu, et al. Capturing the impact of oral processing behavior and bolus formation on the dynamic sensory perception and composition of steamed sturgeon meat. Food Chem, 2023, 17, 100553.
  4. Pyz-Łukasik, Renata, and Waldemar Paszkiewicz. Microbiological quality of farmed grass carp, bighead carp, Siberian sturgeon, and wels catfish from Eastern Poland. J Veter Res, 2018, 62, 145.
  5. Burger, Joanna, and Michael Gochfeld. Perceptions of the risks and benefits of fish consumption: Individual choices to reduce risk and increase health benefits. Environ res, 2009, 109, 343.
  6. Khalili Tilami, Sarvenaz, and Sabine Sampels. Nutritional value of fish: lipids, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Rev Fisher Sci Aquac, 2018, 26, 243-253.
  7. Webb, M. A. H., et al. Mercury concentrations in gonad, liver, and muscle of white sturgeon Acipenser transmontanus in the lower Columbia River. Arch environ contam toxicol, 2006, 50, 443-451.  
  8. Mercury in Food and Dietary Supplements. United States Food and Drug Administration.

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