Caspian Ecology Teeters On the Brink

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Science  18 Jan 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5554, pp. 430-433
DOI: 10.1126/science.295.5554.430

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ASTRAKHAN, RUSSIA-- As nations around the world's largest lake bicker over oil rights, the wildlife of the Caspian Sea is in a state of siege from which it may never recover. Sturgeon, prized for their caviar, are hovering near enough to oblivion that three of the five nations around the Caspian's shores agreed last June to an unprecedented 6-month ban on fishing the species, although some fear that the move is too little, too late. And an invading comb jelly is decimating zooplankton, which is having adverse effects on species farther up the food chain.