Fisheries Program
Northeast Region
Atlantic Sturgeon. Credit: NOAA
Atlantic Sturgeon. Credit: NOAA

Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrhynchus)

Life History

Atlantic sturgeon live to be about 60 years old. They grow to a length of 14 feet and weight of up to 800 pounds. Depending on age and size, females can produce from 400,000 to 4 million eggs per spawning year but they only spawn every 2-5 years while males may spawn every 1-5 years. Spawning occurs in the spring in mid-Atlantic rivers beginning when fish are 11-34 years old.


Canada and Maine to Florida including the Kennebec, Hudson, Delaware, James, and Roanoke rivers.

Fun Facts

  • Sturgeon are bottom feeders. They use their barbells to locate suitable prey.
  • Population declines are due to overfishing for the caviar and flesh market.
  • The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) listed the Gulf of Maine Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of Atlantic sturgeon as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 2012.
  • At the same time, NMFS listed the New York Bight, Chesapeake Bay, Carolina and South Atlantic DPSs of Atlantic sturgeon as endangered.

More Information

Atlantic and Shortnose Sturgeon Species Profiles (pdf - 2.39MB)

Images showing the difference between the Atlantic sturgeon and the shortnose sturgeon (ppt - 30.77MB)

Proposed Listing Determinations for Three Distinct Population Segments of Atlantic Sturgeon in the Northeast Region (pdf - 1.34MB)

Video of sturgeon (mov - 15.75MB)

Back to Aquatic Species Profiles
Last updated: February 10, 2012
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