The Sturgeon r.t.r. project

The sturgeon is one of the oldest fish on our planet - approximately 200 million years old - however due to the demands of the caviar industry and other crucial factors, it faces extinction. As a species the sturgeon are slow-growing and mature late, they are especially susceptible to pollution, habitat  fragmentation and exploitation. With more than 85% of all sturgeon species currently at risk of extinction they are, the most critically endangered group of any species world wide, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The sturgeon r.t.r. project is intended as an international, transdisciplinary art - science venture, with the ultimate aim to promote the reintroducing of the sturgeon into the rivers of Europe - the rivers where for millions of years the fish spawned and used to travel downstream, out to sea and return. The sturgeon r.t.r. project  would be a unique art project that is based on science, fact and environmental awareness and incorporate an unusual promotion concept. We intend to bring the science behind the breeding and reintroduction of the sturgeon to general public awareness.

The initial idea was suggested to us by the Institute for Freshwater Ecology in Berlin.

A solar-powered e-boat with a six-metre sturgeon sculpture mounted on its deck would travel from Berlin to London. The sturgeon  is coated in solar-sensitive paint and in its wake, is mounted a swarm of small kite like fish, flying in the breeze, symbolizing  the new generations to come. The boat would sail up the waterways of Germany to the North Sea, touch on the Netherlands, Belgium and France before finally crossing the Channel, and then pursue the route of the sturgeon up the river Thames to London. On its journey, the sturgeon boat would dock at prearranged points. Here the full range of the awareness campaign would be offered to different organized audiences, from school children and teachers to the general public.

This programme using talks, learning material, brochures and digital media in two languages would elaborate on the urgency of the sturgeon predicament and the scientific facts and figures regarding the reintroduction of the sturgeon. The public would also be informed about what can be done to help and support the reintroduction project, together with a children's short story with pictures to be coloured in, a sturgeon badge, a cut-out cardboard sculpture that they can make etc.

As an additional artistic component, the project would provide the opportunity to acquire a small Sturgeon sculpture in return for the sponsorship of the breading and releasing of a Sturgeon back into the wild. Sturgeons that have been tagged and released by biolo- gists, could be followed on the Internet. The material for the Sturgeon sculpture would be made of recycled plastic waste extracted from the rivers and seas of the world. Online the sponsorship would be realized with the acquisition of a code, thus also releasing a virtual Sturgeon from the internet website.

At its final destination in London, a smaller bronze sculpture would be ceremonially presented to a prominent personality, for example Prince Charles. The whole project would be accompanied by a digital recording that could then also be used as part of the Institute of Freshwater Ecology public relations programme.