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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 June, 2004, 18:53 GMT 19:53 UK
Fisherman lands 8,000 catch
Mike Jenkins of Mumbles coastguard with the Swansea Sturgeon
Mike Jenkins of Mumbles coastguard with the sturgeon
A fisherman in Swansea is celebrating after landing a valuable fish which could earn him more than 8,000.

Robert Davies caught a 10-foot-long sturgeon, whose eggs are used to produce caviar, in Swansea Bay on Wednesday afternoon.

The sturgeon is rarely seen in UK waters and is classified as a royal fish, meaning the Queen had to be consulted before it was sold on.

Buckingham Palace has said that Mr Davies can keep the fish and it is due to be sold on Thursday.

Mr Davies, from Llanelli, who has been a fisherman for three years, said: "It was a normal day - apart from the fact I caught a valuable fish.

"To be honest, I didn't know what it was.

Sale at market

"I contacted fisheries and the coastguard and they came down and took some pictures and told me it was a sturgeon."

Mr Davies added that he was preparing to head to a fish market in Plymouth where the fish would be sold.

The last sturgeon caught off Britain sold for 27 per pound.

Mr Davies' sturgeon is so heavy that Swansea fishermen have been unable to find a set of scales big enough, but the weight is estimated at around 300 pounds.

The fish is being driven to Plymouth for sale at market on Thursday.

Sturgeon eggs are used to make caviar

The sturgeon is usually found in the Caspian Sea, which is bordered by Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.

Its eggs are used to make the delicacy caviar, which can cost several hundred pounds for a small pot.

The sturgeon is rarely caught in the UK with as few as six believed to be landed each year.

Mr Davies added that he had heard that one had been caught off Swansea 25 years ago, but said he had never seen one himself.

A spokeswoman for Swansea Coastguard said that sturgeon, in common with other so-called royal fish like porpoise and dolphin, must be offered to the queen if caught in the UK.

She added: "The fisherman caught it at around 1430 BST on Wednesday and got in touch with the Receiver of Wrecks, via the coastguard.

"A fax was sent to Buckingham Palace this afternoon and fairly quickly a return fax came saying the fisherman was free to dispose of it as he wished.

"I believe that most of the time, fishermen are allowed to keep what they catch, although this has never happened in the eight years I've worked here."

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