Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Q&A

August 12th, 2019 | in Sturgeon Conservation

Fraser River Conservation Society & Tagging Program Q&A


The Fraser River Conservation Society was established in order to preserve the White Sturgeon in the Lower Fraser River.  In 2004, this society established a volunteer-based tagging program that has become the most extensive in the world.  The following is a bit of a Q&A  about the Fraser River Sturgeon and information collected by the Fraser River Conservation Society.

Can you keep White Sturgeon?

No.  White Sturgeon fishing has been strictly a catch & release industry for 20+ years now.

Are Fraser River White Sturgeon Endangered?

No, but we need to be diligent to maintain spawning grounds, ensure agricultural runoff, and ensure any sport fishing minimizes the loss of sturgeon.

What is the estimated White Sturgeon population in the Lower Fraser River?

It is estimated that there are between 35,000 and 45,000 sturgeon in the Lower Fraser River region

What is the largest white sturgeon recorded in the tagging program?

The largest recorded sturgeon was 11feet 4 inches, measured from nose to tail fork.

What is the mortality rate when catching a sturgeon?

It is important to take great care of your catch to ensure the fish is released healthy & uninjured.  Based on a 2005 study, sport fishing has shown to have a 1.0% mortality rate.  It would be assumed that the guides would be lower than an untrained sport fisherman.  Set gill nets have a 40% mortality rate and drift gill nets have a 35% mortality rate.  Alternative methods to gill net fishing are actively being lobbied (eg fish wheels).

What about the Juvenile Sturgeon?

The latest report issued by the Fraser River Sturgeon Society has indicated that the ratio of juvenile sturgeon (under 100cm) is decreasing in recent years.  Additional research is being done in this area to determine the validity of the data.  There is a question as to whether or not there are less spawning females, if the juveniles are dying due to gill nets or other external factors, of if the fishermen can better target the larger fish.  More information should be available within the next couple years, after the study is complete.

 What is the Fraser River Sturgeon Society Doing to help the Sturgeon population?

Working with appropriate parties Nutrient loading (eg adding dead salmon into the water), minimizing gravel removal to maintain spawning grounds, ensuring overfishing isn’t taking place, advising on safe handling of fish.  The society then advocates for what they feel will give the sturgeon a great chance to flourish, while maintaining the fishing industry and other impacting industries.

Where can I find more information on the health of the Sturgeon population in the Fraser River?

You can find more information about the society on the Fraser River Sturgeon Society website.

The latest report can be found here: STATUS OF WHITE STURGEON IN THE LOWER FRASER RIVER IN 2017

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