Watch a Video about Atlantic Sturgeon Research; Counting Juvenile Atlantic Sturgeon

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
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Measuring Juvenile Atlantic SturgeonHudson RiverNet
News from the Hudson River Estuary Program

Fish biologists in DEC's Hudson and Delaware Marine Fisheries unit have been studying the population, life cycle, and habitats of the endangered Atlantic sturgeon since 2003, in order to  manage and conserve this signature species.

checking for a PIT tag in Atlantic SturgeonSturgeon spawned in the Hudson spend three to five years in the river before they migrate to the ocean. Yearly counting and tagging of these young sturgeon helps determine how the fish population is doing over time. By analyzing several years worth of population and age data, biologists can begin to see trends in the stock. Is it stable? Increasing? Decreasing?

The Juvenile Atlantic Sturgeon Abundance Monitoring Program takes place in March through early May in Haverstraw Bay, an overwintering area for these young fish. Research shows that the combination of soft, river-bottom sediments and the depth of the water (more than 20-feet) are ideal for young-of-year Atlantic sturgeon.

netting sturgeonFisheries staff use anchored gill nets to catch the sturgeon. The  sturgeon are weighed, measured for length, and examined for previous tags. A small sample is taken from each fish for genetic and age analysis. Untagged fish are tagged  under the dorsal fin with a Passive Integrated Transponder or PIT tag. This tag is similar to a microchip put in pets and is about the size of a grain of rice. 

At every net, biologists also measure water temperature, dissolved oxygen, and salinity. Since the start of the monitoring program in 2006, there has been a positive trend of abundance (overall increase) in juvenile Hudson river Atlantic sturgeon.

Watch the video:  Atlantic Sturgeon Research on the Hudson River