Scientists find first signs of sturgeon spawning in 50 years

    The discovery of a tiny sturgeon in the Delaware River is the first sign in 50 years that the protected species is spawning in the river.

    Delaware researchers have found the first signs to sturgeon spawning on the Delaware River in the last 50 years.

    A one ounce, seven inch long Atlantic sturgeon is the first direct evidence that sturgeon are using the Delaware River to spawn once again. The fish was found last week in the river near Edgemoor. The river was once home to the largest and most profitable Atlantic sturgeon fishery along the East coast.  Overfishing and declining water quality have contributed to a rapidly declining sturgeon population. A moratorium on sturgeon harvesting was put in place in 1998. The fish is now listed as endangered by both Pennsylvania and Delaware.

    web xclusive banner

    • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

    Delaware officials are now looking for help in finding more evidence of sturgeon spawning in the river. Delaware fisheries biologist Matt Fisher says, “We’d like to try to get some that are maybe a little bit bigger that we could put some of our transmitters in.” If researchers can attach transmitters to some young sturgeon, they may be able to identify areas the fish use for a nursery. Fisher says that “may lead to some protection and potentially restoration down the road.”

    The Division of Fish and Wildlife wants any one who spots a sturgeon or sturgeon carcass to report it by calling 302-653-2887.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal