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Atlantic Sturgeon

Reporting Dead Sturgeon

If you see a dead sturgeon floating or on the shore of the Hudson River, please notify DEC by calling 845-256-3073 (Amanda Higgs) or email us using the link on the right side of the screen. We also would like the following information:

  • Specify the location of fish carcass
  • Note the condition of the fish - really rotted or fresh kill
  • Identify any signs of trauma, and if present, where on the fish
  • Estimate the total length of the carcass (measure from nose to tip of upper tail [caudal] fin) or whatever is left of the carcass
  • Describe any external tags found on the fish - usually a yellow streamer at or near the base of the dorsal fin; a second external mark can be a missing left pelvic fin clip
  • Take a picture of the entire fish and any injury; include a picture of the head and mouth to verify the species.

Leave the fish where you found it. Possession of Atlantic and Shortnose sturgeon is prohibited!

Please send information and pictures to the Hudson River Fisheries Unit mailbox (link on the right).


Juvenile Atlantic Sturgeon Monitoring

atlantic sturgeon

The life history of Atlantic sturgeon makes monitoring of population trends through time difficult. In 2003-2005, the NYSDEC and USFWS collaborated to develop a method to track changes in abundance of juvenile Atlantic sturgeon over time. In 2006 the DEC and Hudson River Estuary Program began using the developed sampling program. Anchored gill nets (stretch mesh sizes of 3", 4", 5") are set at predetermined sites. Captured Atlantic sturgeon are weighed (nearest gram), measured (nearest mm, TL and FL) and double tagged. If a passive integrated transponder (PIT) tag is not present, one is implanted.
In initial attempts to calculate the annual gill net survey index, survey catches seem to be affected by varying environmental conditions, including water temperature, salinity and distance to salt front. The model selected will incorporate the mentioned environmental conditions.

Adult Atlantic Sturgeon Monitoring

Atlantic sturgeon of the Hudson River Estuary have supported some level of subsistence or commercial fishing since colonial times. Reported commercial landings of Atlantic sturgeon are available for New York State from 1880 through 1995. In 1993 through 1995, New York regulated the Atlantic sturgeon fishery with size limits, seasons, area closures, and as more data became available, it became apparent that the Hudson River stock was being over fished. NY implemented a harvest moratorium in 1996. New Jersey followed with a zero quota in the same year. In 1998, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission adopted Amendment 1 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Sturgeon. This amendment banned possession of Atlantic sturgeon in all US Atlantic coastal states. It also recommended that states with spawning populations sample adults every five years and identify bycatch losses in state waters. In 2012 the Hudson Stock was listed as an endangered species. Spawning locations of Atlantic sturgeon within the Hudson River Estuary remain poorly delineated. Several authors have investigated spawning activity of Atlantic sturgeon within the estuary, but have drawn differing conclusions about spawning location. Thirty fish were tagged with sonic tags to learn more about spawning locations and movement while in the river.


Although harvest of Atlantic sturgeon from the Hudson River Estuary has ended, threats to stock recovery continue. Within the estuary, habitat disturbance and alteration from navigation dredging and occasional petroleum spills pose potential threats to spawning. The NYSDEC regulates dredging and attempts to provide special protection from spills, but these efforts are hampered by incomplete information on specific timing and location of spawning and nursery areas. Within the ocean, mature Atlantic sturgeon are potentially affected by dredge spoil dumping, and bycatch in existing fisheries. To learn more about migration in the ocean and congregation areas along the coast fish were tagged with pop-off satellite tags. Data were stored and at the programmed date the tag came to the surface and transmitted the data to NYSDEC.

Capturing and Tagging

To learn more about what returns to the river every year to spawn, NYSDEC goes out for three weeks to sample the spawning stock. Data are collected on length, weight and sex are recorded. A PIT tag is implanted if the fish doesn't have one.

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    New Paltz, NY 12561
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