In Britain, sturgeon, porpoises and whales belong to the Queen under a 1324 statute

British Colombia sturgeon weighing 600 pounds

The Queen owns all the sturgeon in Britain! And it’s thanks to a law that was enacted in 1324 and which still has effect today in 2020. It sounds remarkable but it is true. The law took effect very recently when an angler, Aaron Lawther, hauled a six-foot long sturgeon out of a private lake in Norfolk. The fish put up a big fight and it took him 30 minutes to bring it ashore. He had to hang on “for dear life” he said. He put the fish back.

British Colombia sturgeon weighing 600 pounds

British Colombia sturgeon weighing 600 pounds. Photo: Twitter.

In Russia, sturgeon are bred for their roe to be sold as caviar. William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England says that the “superior excellence” of sturgeon make them uniquely suited for the use of the monarch. To the sturgeon you can add the porpoise and the whale. If a fisherman catches a sturgeon near the English coast the fish immediately belongs to the monarch.

The kings of Denmark and the Dukes of Normandy enjoy the same rights. The rights enjoyed by the Queen in this regard were enacted during the reign of Edward II. This particular right is managed by the Receiver of Wreck. He or she takes possession of Royal fish when they arrive on English shores.

It appears though that practicalities take priority over an ancient law. If you tell the Queen that you have caught a sturgeon I’m sure that she would say you can keep it! I’m sure that the Queen has no interest in taking possession of a sturgeon caught by fishermen. A Yorkshire business called KC Caviar has permission from the Queen to farm sturgeon.

Comment: better still, fishermen shouldn’t catch sturgeon at all because my research clearly indicates that fish feel pain and that a hook in the mouth of fish can be detrimental to that animal’s health of the rest of their lives.