Sturgeon is reported to have been caught at a variety of times throughout the year. Mi’kmaq fishing occurred from mid March to mid June , cultures from the central Subarctic fished during the spring , the Kootenai  and the Huron [48, 59] fished during the spring until May and the Salish of Middle Columbia River fished from May through August . The Southwestern Coast Salish fished for sturgeon during summer , Maliseet fishing occurred in June , and the Chinookan of Lower Columbia fished in April . In contrast, the Plains Cree fished for sturgeon during winter and early spring , the Katzie fished during the months of March, November and December , the Waswanipi (Cree) caught sturgeon spring, summer and fall , and the British Columbia Stalo caught them throughout the year .
Among the Kutenai, sturgeon fishing was regarded as a challenging task for only talented fishermen who caught them in calm waters; however, the lower Kutenai considered fishing a communal activity . Sturgeon was caught by “still fishing”, where a large rope was tied up on a tree, and sunk to the bottom at some distance from the tree using a stone anchor. Smaller lines with a cross made from bone were attached to the large rope and cast into the water. If a fish was caught, one man pulled the line towards shore while a second man speared the fish from a canoe. The Micmac (Mi’kmaq)  and the Round Lake Ojibwa (Anishinabek)  used weirs to catch sturgeon, whereas the Mi’kmaq used a “dart” harpoon with a sharp end and a line attached , and American Indians , Maliseet , Saulteaux  and cultures from central Subarctic  used spears. The Musqueam used traps that belonged to the whole family, among whom everyone could take fish as they pleased. The ‘owner’s’ authority over the trap was to make sure that it was always in good condition, and decided when to allow non-family members to take part in the fishing . Straits tribes used complicated and intricate “reef-nets”, which belonged to only one fisherman, but the collection of fish was a communal and inter-community activity. The Squamish used a 20-meter long harpoon , whereas the Mistissini (Cree) used either nets or a spear with two prongs attached, each with a metal point , and the Thompson (N'laka'pamux) used hooks to catch sturgeon . The Lillooet used a variety of hunting methods, including “set-lines” made from hemp with baited hooks attached, a three-pronged spear, traps, as well as torches at night to lure the fish . The Kootenai used “basket traps”, as well as weirs made from wicker , or caught them using nets and canoes . At times, the Salish of Middle Columbia River would kill a mountain goat, and toss it into the river – the fish that would come to consume the meat would then be caught . Eastern Abenaki and Richibucto Micmac used torches to lure the fish to the surface, and then killed them with harpoons or spears[2, 23]. The Central Coast Salish used sealing harpoons as well as a “trawl” net, whereas the Musqueam and Tsawwassen set up “tidal pounds” to catch sturgeon , and the Southwestern Coast Salish used harpoons . The Chinookan of Lower Columbia used a “gaff” attached to a long line . The cultures of the North Pacific Coast are reported to have used hook and line to catch sturgeon in the Columbia River . Hunters among the Plains Cree were known to shoot at the fin of a sturgeon if seen at the water’s surface . The Huron used large fishing nets that they set up after dusk, and brought them in at dawn [57, 58]. The Salish and Dene caught sturgeon using large hooks made from bone, attached to long lines made from bark. They were usually caught from a canoe, and sometimes from shore. . The British Columbia Stalo used long harpoons in deeper waters during the winter, used weirs in shallower waters during spring and summer . The Coastal Salish were reported to have used a harpoon with a long handle, a removable head, a line made from kelp with a float . The Mistissini and Waswanipi Cree used wooden spears with two metal prongs attached  in addition to catching the fish using nets and torches at night . The Anishnabeg (Ojibway) (Anishinabek) used a spear or hook with a line attached, as well as a torch at night , whereas the Katzie used harpoons and “bag nets” .The Lillooet and Shuswap sometimes caught sturgeon using nets intended for salmon .
The Mi’kmaq smoked sturgeon on racks made of wood laid over a fire , whereas the Onondaga Iroquois fried sturgeon with a little water, or boiled it in corn soup . The Chinookan of lower Columbia dehydrated, smoked, and stored sturgeon for winter, or steamed it in an “earth oven” . Among the Huron, the fish were cut open, the guts removed, and the fish laid out on drying racks for sun drying or smoking [57, 58]. Smoked fish was an integral component of feasts, and was also used to make relish for soup. The Stalo often cut the fish meat into sheets of a half-inch thick and a foot to a foot and a half long, and then smoked it for fourteen days over long poles . While being smoked, the meat was hand-massaged to keep it tender, whereas the spine, head and tail were prepared fresh and eaten. Among the Kutenai, the “Fishing Chief” distributed the catch throughout the community . Owners of a sturgeon trap retained a large portion of the fish, but much was allocated to the rest of the village. It was reported to be forbidden to raid a “cache” of fish or other food hidden in trees; only a desperately hungry individual was allowed to take a maximum of two servings of food. If he could identify whose food it was, he was required to let the person know that he had taken some.
Uses other than food
Among the Stalo, “sturgeon glue” was attained from the “purse” along the spine . The Shuswap used sturgeon skin to make bow strings , and the Northern Ojibwa (Anishinabek) sold sturgeon to traders .
Beliefs and taboos
Ritualistic activities existed surrounding the sturgeon: certain Huron “fish preachers” summoned to the fish every night to provide the community with ample food [57, 58]. Sometimes they burned tobacco or tossed it into the water while saying a prayer. A ritualistic event was reported in which two girls were married to a net to ensure a bounty of fish caught. Among the Plains Ojibwa (Mountain Turtle Band), a “first fruits feast” was held for boys who caught their first sturgeon . The Waswanipi considered it to be bad luck when a sturgeon died in the net .
White sturgeon is reported to have been consumed by the following cultures: Indigenous Peoples of the British Columbian coast [65, 66], the Straits Salish (a division of the Coast Salish), in particular the Lummi and the Semiahmoo , the Katzie (a division of the Coast Salish from the Lower Fraser Valley) , the Southwestern Coast Salish  and the Stalo . The Kutenai of the lower Kootenay River also consumed white sturgeon, which was reported to have weighed up to 20 pounds .
The Stalo caught white sturgeon with harpoons year-round from the Fraser River and its tributaries. In June and July, weirs were used to hold back the sturgeon so that a noose could be slipped over the head and the fish harpooned. The weir was opened when enough sturgeon had been caught. The flesh was usually smoked: pieces of 12 – 18 inches long and ½ an inch thick were smoked for two weeks in a smokehouse, during which time the flesh was softened frequently by working it with the hands. The head and tail were cooked and consumed immediately. The nerve cord was eaten either cooked or raw .
The Katzie caught white sturgeon in Pitt River and Pitt Lake, as well as the smaller streams that flow through Pitt Meadows. In late spring and early summer sturgeon were caught with set-nets, trawl nets and the same harpoons that were used for salmon and seal. The trawl net was attached to the sterns of two canoes (two men per canoe: one to paddle, one to hold the net). When a large sturgeon was caught, the owner of the net divided it immediately among the four men: he gave the tail to the owner of the other canoe, half of the face to each of the paddlers, and kept the rest for a small feast for when he returned home. The set-net (or gill-net) was several yards wide and up to 200 feet long with a line of floats (scorched cedar) along one side and a line of sinkers (stones wrapped with cedar branches) on the other. If the fisherman needed help because the sturgeon was large, he would call another canoe to help and would divide the catch in a similar fashion to the trawl-net catch .
Beliefs and taboos
White sturgeon was held in high regard by the Katzie. According to myth, the first white sturgeon was the daughter of the first man created at Pitt Lake and visitors were required to ask the village for permission to fish. Several restrictions limited the number of people who fished for sturgeon. The set-nets and trawl nets were made of material obtained only through trading with cultures in the British Columbia Interior and while fishing, one was obliged to employ unique ritual words and practices, such as using a certain plant to cleanse one’s hands .
Lake sturgeon are reported to have been consumed by The Omushkego Cree of Northern Ontario  and the James Bay Cree  The Red River Ojibwa (Anishinabek) reportedly consumed lake sturgeon in the 1850s, harvesting the fish in spring from the lower Red River district. Approximately 260 pounds of isinglass (a product made from the inner membrane of the fish’s bladder), used for making glue, was annually traded between 1841 and 1857 .
Green sturgeon were consumed by Indigenous Peoples of the British Columbian coast . The Straits Salish (a division of the Coast Salish), in particular the Lummi and the Semiahmoo, were reported to have consumed green sturgeon from the Straits territory. Although the fish was probably not very important to the Lummi, it seemed to be as important as salmon to the Semiahmoo. A canoe was used to catch the sturgeon in April to May, either during the daytime at low tide, or the nighttime when the phosphorescence of the fish made it easy to see. The Semiahmoo used a harpoon with a trident butt to strike behind the head, and the fish would be hoisted into the canoe, or towed behind if too large (although not usual, some sturgeon were reported to have weighed up to 1200 pounds). Women usually butchered the fish, and the skin was removed and cooked separately. The flesh was cut lengthwise into fillets and hung on a drying rack in the sun to cure. Dry sturgeon could be eaten without cooking, but was usually cut into strips and boiled for 10 minutes. The cured fish was stored in cattail bags that were hung in the house. The eggs and the milt were boiled in a soup. The head was either cooked for a long period and then sliced and eaten, or dried until hard and boiled prior to eating. The spinal cord was reported to be pulled out from the tail and consumed raw .
Atlantic sturgeon are reported to have been sought out in nearby rivers by the Micmac (Mi’kmaq) of New Brunswick .
1. Berkes F, George PJ, Preston RJ, Hughes.A, Turner J, Cummins BD: Wildlife Harvesting and Sustainable Regional Native Economy in the Hudson and James Bay Lowland, Ontario. Arctic 1994, Vol. 47 No. 4:350-360.
2. Speck FG, Dexter RW: Utilization of animals and plants by the Micmac Indians of New Brunswick. Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences 1951, 41(8):250-259.
3. Turney-High HH: Ethnography of the Kutenai. Menasha, Wisconsin: American Anthropological Association; 1941.
4. Bock PK: Micmac. In: Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 15: Northeast. edn. Edited by Trigger BG. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution; 1978: 109-122.
5. Stoddard NB: Micmac Foods, vol. re-printed from the Journal of Education February 1966. Halifax, Nova Scotia: Halifax Natural Science Museum; 1970.
6. Prins HEL: The Mi'kmaq: Resistance, Accommodation, and Cultural Survival, vol. Series: Case studies in Cultural Anthropology. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace College Publishers; 1996.
7. Honigmann JJ: Foodways in a Muskeg Community: An Anthropological Report on the Attawapiskat Indians. Ottawa: Northern Co-ordination and Research Centre, Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources; 1948.
8. Meyer D: Appendix I: Plants, Animals and Climate; Appendix IV: Subsistence-Settlement Patterns. In: The Red Earth Crees, 1860-1960. Volume 1st edition, edn.: National Musem of Man Mercury Series; 1985: 175-185-200-223.
9. Howard JH: The Plains Ojibwa or Bungi: Hunters and Warriors of the Northern Prairies with special reference to the Turtle Mountain Band, vol. Series: Anthropological papers (no.1). Vemilion, South Dakota: South Dakota Musem, University of South Dakota; 1965.
10. Suttles W: Coast Salish Essays, vol. 1st edition. Seattle: University of Washingtion Press; 1987.
11. Waugh FW. In: Iroquois Foods and Food Preparation. edn. Ottawa: Department of Mines. Government Printing Bureau; 1973.
12. Hayden B: A Complex Culture of the British Columbia Plateau: Traditional Stl'atl'imx Resource Use. Vancouver: UBC Press; 1998.
13. Ignace MB: Shuswap. In: Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 12: Plateau. edn. Edited by Walker DE, Jr. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution; 1998: 203-208.
14. Matthew M: Foods of The Shuswap People. Kamloops, B.C.: Secwepemc Cultural Education Society; 1986.
15. Preston RJ: East Main Cree. In: Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 6: Subarctic. edn. Edited by Helm J. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution; 1981: 196-207.
16. Conner DCG, Bethune-Johnson D: Our Coast Salish Way of Life-The Squamish. Scarborough, Ontario: Prentice-Hall Canada Inc.; 1986.
17. Rogers ES, Leacock E: Montagnais-Naskapi. In: Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 6: Subarctic. edn. Edited by Helm J. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution; 1981: 169-189.
18. Rogers ES, Taylor JG: Northern Ojibwa. In: Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 6: Subarctic. edn. Edited by Helm J. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution; 1981: 231-235.
19. Miller J: Middle Columbia River Salishans. In: Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 12: Plateau. edn. Edited by Walker DE, Jr. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution; 1998: 253-270.
20. Ross JA: Spokane. In: Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 12: Plateau. edn. Edited by Walker DE, Jr. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution; 1998: 271-282.
21. Hewes GW: Fishing. In: Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 12: Plateau. edn. Edited by Walker DE, Jr. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution; 1998: 620-636.
22. Brunton BB: Kootenai. In: Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 12: Plateau. edn. Edited by Walker DE, Jr. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution; 1998: 223-228.
23. Snow DR: Eastern Abenaki. In: Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 15: Northeast. edn. Edited by Trigger BG. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution; 1978: 137-139.
24. Stewart FL: The Seasonal Availability of Fish Species Used by the Coast Tsimshians of Northern British Columbia. Syesis 1975, 8:375-388.
25. Eidlitz K: Food and Emergency Food in the Circumpolar Area. In.; 1969.
26. Newcomb WW: North American Indians: An Anthropological Perspective. Pacific Palisades, California: Goodyear Publishing Company, Inc.; 1974.
27. Salisbury RF: A Homeland for the Cree: Regional Development in James Bay 1971-1981. Kingston/Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press; 1986.
28. Hajda Y: Southwestern Coast Salish. In: Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 7: Northwest Coast. edn. Edited by Suttles W. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution; 1990: 503-507.
29. Suttles W, Lane B: Southern Coast Salish. In: Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 7: Northwest Coast. edn. Edited by Suttles W. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution; 1990: 485-490.
30. Mandelbaum DG: The Plains Cree: An Ethnographic, Historical, and Comparative Study, vol. 1st edition. Regina: Canadian Plains Research Center; 1979.
31. Hill-Tout C: Food and Cooking. In: British North America: The Far West, the Home of the Salish and Dene. edn. Edited by Hill-Tout C. London: Archibald Constable; 1907: 89-108.
32. Rogers ES: Aboriginal Ontario: historical perspectives on the First Nations. Toronto: Dundurn Press; 1994.
33. Rogers ES: Subsistence Areas of the Cree-Ojibwa of the Eastern Subarctic: A Preliminary Study. Contributions of Ethnology V 1967, No. 204:59-90.
34. Rogers ES: Equipment for Securing Native Foods and Furs. In: The Material Culture of the Mistassini. edn.: National Museum of Canada, Bulletin 218; 1967: 67-88.
35. Rogers ES: Southeastern Ojibwa. In: Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 15: Northeast. edn. Edited by Trigger BG. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution; 1978: 760-766.
36. Rogers ES: Indians of the Subarctic: The Royal Ontario Museum; 1970.
37. Duff W: The Upper Stalo Indians of the Fraser Valley, British Columbia. Victoria,B.C.: British Columbia Provincial Museum; 1952.
38. Teit JA (ed.): Part VII The Shuswap. New York; 1900.
39. Government of British Columbia: Vol 1: Introduction to our Native Peoples. Victoria: British Columbia Department of Education; 1966.
40. Rogers ES: Subsistence. In: The Hunting Group-Hunting Territory Complex among the Mistassini Indians. edn. Ottawa: National Museum of Canada Bulletin No. 195; 1963: 32-53.
41. Honigmann JJ: Fishing. In: Foodways in a Muskeg Community. edn. Ottawa: Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources; 1961: 143-150.
42. Suttles W, Jenness D: Katzie Ethnographic Notes / The Faith of a Coast Salish Indian. Victoria: British Columbia Provincial Museum; 1955.
43. Teit JA: The Shuswap, vol. Series: American Museum of Natural Histroy ( The Jesup North Pacific Expedition). New York: AMS PRESS INC.; 1975.
44. Wyatt D: Thompson. In: Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 12: Plateau. edn. Edited by Walker DE, Jr. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution; 1998: 191-202.
45. Kennedy D, Bouchard RT: Northern Okanagan, Lakes, and Colville. In: Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 12: Plateau. edn. Edited by Walker DE, Jr. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution; 1998: 238-252.
46. Kennedy D, Bouchard RT: Lillooet. In: Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 12: Plateau. edn. Edited by Walker DE, Jr. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution; 1998: 174-190.
47. Erickson VO: Maliseet-Passamaquoddy. In: Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 15: Northeast. edn. Edited by Trigger BG. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution; 1978: 123-136.
48. Heidenreich CE: Huron. In: Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 15: Northeast. edn. Edited by Trigger BG. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution; 1978: 368-383.
49. Suttles W: Central Coast Salish. In: Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 7: Northwest Coast. edn. Edited by Suttles W. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution; 1990: 453-460.
50. Silverstein M: Chinookans of the Lower Columbia. In: Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 7: Northwest Coast. edn. Edited by Suttles W. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution; 1990: 533-536.
51. Feit HA: The Ethno-Ecology of the Waswanipi Cree; or How Hunters can Manage their Resources. In: Cultural Ecology. edn. Edited by Cox B: McClelland and Stewart; 1973: 115-125.
52. Feit HA: Waswanipi Realities and Adaptations: Resource Management and Cognitive Structure. In.; 1978.
53. Eells M: The Indians of Puget Sound: The Notebooks of Myron Eells. Seattle: University of Washington Press; 1985.
54. Clifton JA, Cornell GL, McClurken JM: People of The Three Fires: The Ottawa, Potawatomi, and Ojibway of Michigan. Grand Rapids, Michigan: The Grand Rapids Inter-Tribal Council; 1986.
55. Berkes F: An Investigation of Cree Indian Domestic Fisheries in Northern Quebec. Arctic 1979, 32(1):46-70.
56. Elberg N, Hyman J, Hyman K, Salisbury RF: Not By Bread Alone: The Use of Subsistence Resources among James Bay Cree. In.; 1975.
57. Tooker E: Subsistence of the Huron Indians. In: Cultural Ecology: Readings on the Canadian Indians and Eskimos. edn. Edited by Cox B. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart; 1973: 26-34.
58. Tooker E: An Ethnography of the Huron Indians, 1615-1649, vol. originally published as Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 190. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press; 1991.
59. Heidenreich CE: The Huron: A Brief Ethnography. York: York University-Department of Geography; 1972.
60. Berkes F, Farkas CS: Eastern James Bay Cree Indians: Changing Patterns of Wild Food Use and Nutrition. Ecology of Food and Nutrition 1978, 7:155-172.
61. Kuhnlein HV: Traditional and Contemporary Nuxalk Foods. Nutrition Research 1984, 4:789-809.
62. Tuck JA: Northern Iroquoian Prehistory. In: Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 15: Northeast. edn. Edited by Trigger BG. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution; 1978: 322-325.
63. Speck FG, Dexter RW: Utilization of marine life by the Wampanoag Indians of Massachusetts. Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences 1948, 38(8):257-265.
64. Drucker P: Cultures of the North Pacific Coast. Scranton, Pennsylvania: Chandler Publishing Company; 1965.
65. Bouchard R, Kennedy DID: Utilization of fishes, beach foods, and marine mammals by the Tl'uhus Indian People of British Columbia. In.: British Columbia Indian Language Project; 1974.
66. Stephenson PH, Elliot SJ, Foster LT, Harris J: A persistent spirit: towards understanding Aboriginal health in British Columbia. In. Edited by Stephenson PH, Elliot SJ, Foster LT, Harris J. Victoria: Department of Geography, University of Victoria; 1995: 130-141.
67. Suttles WP: Coast Salish and Western Washington Indians. In: Coast Salish and Western Washington Indians The Economic Life of the Coast Salish of Haro and Rosario Straits. edn. New York & London: Garland Publishing Inc.; 1974.
68. Johnson OW: Flathead and Kootenay, the Rivers, the Tribes and the Region's Traders. Glendale, Calif.: A.H. Clark Co.; 1969.
69. Belinsky D, Kuhnlein HV, Yeboah F, Penn AF, Chan HM: Composition of fish consumed by the James Bay Cree. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 1996, 9:148-162.
70. Peers L: The Ojibwa of Western Canada, 1780 to 1870. Winnipeg: The University of Manitoba Press; 1994.
Sturgeons are amongst the largest, longest-living, most ancient fish that remained quite similar to primitive ones that existed around 200 million years ago. All sturgeons species spawn in freshwater, but some spend their entire life in freshwater, while others migrate to the ocean or nearby brackish waters as adults and after spawning. They are members of a small primitive group of fish, also including paddle fish, with only around 25 extant species, all native to cool waters of the Northern Hemisphere. Sturgeons were once more abundant and widespread across North American lakes and rivers. In the early 1800s, sturgeons were first considered a nuisance fish, but over the 19th century, their commercial value for their caviar and meat on the international market soon led to overharvesting and stock depletion across North America. Recent changes to their habitats and migratory routes have put all North American sturgeon species at risk, including the white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus), the green sturgeon (A. medirostris), the lake sturgeon (A. fulvescens), and the Atlantic sturgeon (A. oxyrhynchus).
Sturgeons have retained some primitive traits from bottom-dwelling fish that are unusual among most modern fishes. They have a long, cylindrical, tapering body with a skeleton that is mostly cartilaginous rather than bony, a sucker-like mouth that can project downward, rows of bony plates running along their body, very small eyes, a toothless mouth, and barbels or whiskers under their conical snout. Sturgeons have one dorsal fin placed far back close to their two-lobed, shark-like tail fin and they are generally one basic, dull colour. The largest North American species, the white sturgeon, can weigh up to 850 kg and measure over 6 m long, while other species generally range in weight from 15 to 150kg and rarely measure more than 4 m long.
Sturgeons grow slowly, mature late, and live long. The longest-living North American species, the lake sturgeon, can live for over 150 years. They can spawn repeatedly over their lifetime, but start spawning late in life, some after their 20th year, and most species do not spawn every year, only once every 4 to 10 years. They are most often found in deep, turbid waters and are opportunistic bottom-feeders eating what is available in the area, including insects and their larvae, mollusks, crustaceans, fish and their eggs, and aquatic vegetation .
The white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) grows to an enormous size and is the largest North American fish found in freshwater fish reaching up to 850 kg. Most populations are searun and migrate to inland freshwater to spawn, while some populations spend their entire life in freshwater. They occur along the west coast of North America, from Mexico to Alaska, mostly in the large drainage basin of the Fraser, Columbia, and Sacramento, where most populations are at risk. White sturgeons are closely related to and closely resemble other sturgeon species. They are mostly grayish and their common name likely comes from the fact that their flesh is light coloured compared to that of the co-occurring green sturgeon (A. medirostris) .
The lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) is the longest-living species of North American sturgeons and can reach over 150 years old. Unlike other North American sturgeons, they occur almost exclusively in freshwater, from the St. Lawrence, the Great Lakes, and the Hudson Bay drainage waters to some lakes and rivers of Alberta, but like most other sturgeon species in Canada, they have declined in abundance and most populations are at risk. Like other sturgeons, lake sturgeons can grow quite big, reaching up to 2 m long and over 100 kg. They are greenish to grayish brown with a white belly and they migrate up fast flowing rivers to spawn only after their 12th to 20th year .
The green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris) occurs along the North American Pacific coast from Mexico to the Bering Sea, migrating inland to spawn in freshwater. They are less abundant and much smaller than the co-occurring white sturgeon. They rarely grow above 45 kg, but can reach close to 160 kg, and are mostly olive green. Their flesh is very dark and is not highly valued by commercial fishery or sport fishing. In Canada, the green sturgeon, like all other sturgeon species, is considered to be at some risk .
The Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrhynchus) is the second largest North American sturgeon reaching over 350 kg and up to 4 m long. They spend most of their live at sea, but return to freshwater to spawn along the North American Atlantic coast from Florida to Labrador. They are very similar to other sturgeons, except for their bluish black head and back fading along the sides into a whitish underside .
1. Sturgeons and paddlefish of North America. In. Edited by LeBreton GTO, Beamish FWH, McKinley RS: Kluwer Academic Publishers; 2004.
2. Wooding FH: Lake, river and sea-run fishes of Canada. Madeira Park, BC, Canada: Harbour Publishing; 1997.