Below are facts about the Atlantic Sturgeon

  • Atlantic sturgeon range from the Gulf of Mexico north to Labrador.
  • In 1890, nearly 7 million pounds of sturgeon were caught along the East Coast. Since 1920, the catch has never exceeded 300,000 pounds.
  • A small sturgeon fishery still exists in some places along the coast, but the majority of sturgeon taken today are incidental catch in other fisheries.
  • Depending on the caviar yield, a single female sturgeon may be worth $3,000.
  • Males in this area do not reach maturity until they are 11-12 years old. Females reach maturity at about 15 years. To the north, females may not reach maturity until age 20 or even longer. Fish may reach maturity at younger ages to the south.
  • Females lay eggs in flowing water flowing water up to 60 feet deep.
  • Spawning in the Bay takes place in April and May. Spawning is earlier in rivers to the south, and later to the north.
  • Juveniles tend to remain in their natal rivers for up to 5 years before returning to the ocean.
  • The oldest known Atlantic sturgeon was estimated to be 60 years old.
  • The heaviest Atlantic sturgeon on record weighed 811 pounds.
  • The longest Atlantic sturgeon on record was 14 feet long.
  • Female sturgeon are about 7 feet long at maturity, and may weigh anywhere from 100 pounds to several hundred pounds.
  • Sturgeon use ocean, estuarine and riverine habitats at various stages of their lives, though the condition of riverine habitats, where spawning occurs, may be the most crucial.

Sources: Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service