Fisheries, Midwest Region
Conserving the Nature of America
Lake Sturgeon

Native Americans revered the lake sturgeon (Acipenser acipenser) as an important part of their culture that provided food, oil, leather and other staples. In the 1800s, the sturgeon's economic value was recognized and commercial fishing of sturgeon intensified.

By 1900, commercial catches declined as the population plummeted. Populations continued to decline through the 1970s. Over-harvesting, habitat loss, damming of tributaries and pollution all contributed to population declines. Many lake sturgeon populations are imperiled in its historic range. Lake sturgeon are now protected with strict harvest regulations in most of the waters of the Great Lakes.

Service lake sturgeon restoration activities in the upper Great Lakes and tributaries have resulted in several hundred fish being captured to gather information such as age, growth and health of the sturgeon. These fish are then tagged and released to help us monitor movements and gain a better understanding of the sturgeon's life cycle. Service hatcheries have also been rearing lake sturgeon for restoration efforts. The Service provides assistance to Native American tribes with lake sturgeon restoration activities.