17. Hudson River Sturgeon
The Atlantic sturgeon is the Hudson's largest fish, often reaching lengths of five to eight feet. (The largest on record, caught in Canada, was 14 feet long and weighed 800 pounds.) It is anadromous; females do not return to the river to spawn until they are at least 15 years old, and usually closer to 20.
In the 1800s, sturgeon were so abundant in the Hudson that they were known as "Albany beef." By the late 1900s, the caviar and meat of an adult female sold for as much as $3,000. However, these prices led to overfishing. Adult female and young sturgeon became very scarce, so fishing for Atlantic sturgeon was banned in 1996. The DEC's Hudson River Fisheries Unit is conducting research to learn how to better manage this fish and monitor its recovery.