Sturgeon

5" x 10" $200
Variable edition of 7, 2003
Printed on black and gray Moriki paper

Atlantic sturgeon have been sought for their flesh and roe (sold as caviar) since colonial times, resulting in severe population depletion. Despite state and federal moratoria on fishing for Atlantic sturgeon imposed in the late 1990s, this slow-growing species continues to decline in the Delaware Estuary, remains scarce in the Chesapeake Bay, and is down to fewer than 2,000 spawners in the Hudson River. The greatest obstacle to Atlantic sturgeon recovery is incidental capture (or "bycatch") in coastal fishing gear, particularly gillnets. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) has a sturgeon management plan, but has yet to effectively reduce bycatch of sturgeon. Because sturgeon migrate into estuaries and rivers, habitat degradation also poses a threat to recovery. Atlantic sturgeon are exceptionally vulnerable to overexploitation; females take up to 30 years to mature and may not spawn every year. Atlantic sturgeon are listed as "endangered" in Delaware and Pennsylvania, but the federal government rejected a 1997 petition to list the species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

If you live in an Atlantic state, contact your governor and request prompt action by the ASMFC to reduce sturgeon bycatch in coastal fisheries. Writing to Congress in support of national and international sturgeon protection and estuarine habitat conservation can also help the variety of sturgeon species at risk in U.S. waters and around the world.

Information provided by The Ocean Conservancy. To learn more about its work advocating for wild, healthy oceans, please visit www.oceanconservancy.org

Sturgeon