Atlantic Sturgeon reward program
Atlantic sturgeon once supported an economically important commercial fishery in the Chesapeake Bay. However, by the early 1900's the fishery had declined to around 100,000 pounds per year. Due to severe overfishing, a moratorium was implemented in 1998.
Without a regulated fishery, it is difficult to assess how a fish population is doing. To collect data about the size and distribution of the Atlantic sturgeon population in the Maryland waters of the Chesapeake Bay, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Maryland Fishery Resources Office (MFRO) partnered to implement a tag reward program.
As partners in the program, commercial fisherman receive a monetary reward for each live sturgeon that is tagged. Watermen call a toll free number (1-800-448-8322) to report sturgeon caught in their nets. Biologists then meet the fishermen at their dock to tag the fish and collect length, weight, and tissue sample information.
The reward program has commpensated over 260 different commercial fishermen $143,500 in 12 years. There have been close to 1500 wild Atlantic sturgeon and over 450 hatchery Altantic sturgeon captured in the program. In addition, nearly 80 endangered shortnose sturgeon have been captured.
For more information about how to report a live sturgeon, follow this link to the Maryland DNR Atlantic sturgeon tagging site.