help save the nechako white sturgeon

Nechako White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative (NWSRI)

Dwelling in deep pools of the Nechako River is a survivor from the age of the dinosaurs - the Nechako white sturgeon. This mysterious creature is the largest freshwater fish in Canada, and has existed relatively unchanged for millions of years – surviving volcanic eruptions, ice ages and climatic upheavals. But the Nechako white sturgeon is now swimming in a current of change that is taking it to the very brink of extinction. It is ranked as Critically Imperiled by the British Columbia Conservation Data Centre and is an Endangered Species according to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).

In the last 50 years, the Nechako white sturgeon population has dropped from what some scientists believe was a minimum of 5000 fish to less than 300. And the vast majority of those fish are more than 40 years old. The lack of younger fish means that sturgeon are either not reproducing successfully or that the young are not surviving to adulthood. As sturgeon do not begin spawning until they are 20 to 40 years old, the lack of young sturgeon in the Nechako means that an entire generation is already missing.

But it is not too late! With your help, and the help of other concerned citizens, organizations and governments, the Nechako white sturgeon can be saved.




The Nechako White Sturgeon Recovery Conservation Centre has welcomed three male and one female sturgeon!  The broodstock capture program began Monday April 28th 2014 and so far three males and a female are in the hatchery!  All of the four fish caught are mature.  Click this link to watch a CKPG TV new story featuring some of the NWSRI members in action:


 Senior Fish Culturist, Mike Manky, and two seasonal fish culture technicians working on an endangered Nechako white sturgeon for the Conservation Centre’s broodstock program, April 2014.   Photo by NWSRI Technical working Group Chair and Facility Manager for the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC, Cory Williamson.

The intent of the full broodstock program is to capture 12 pairs of adults (24 adults).  The facility will allow us to produce, raise and release up to 12,000 juvenile sturgeon each year back into the Nechako River.  The sturgeon produced this year will remain at the facility over the winter to allow them to grow larger prior to their release. Our hope is that these fish will be past the stage of recruitment failure identified by our Technical Working Group and therefore a greater number will survive to breeding age. 

As always, the NWSRI remains committed to identifying, maintaining and potentially restoring critical sturgeon habitat.  Our ultimate goal is to find the more permanent solutions required to achieve a self-sustaining sturgeon population.  In addition to our ongoing biological research and monitoring projects we are conducting or supporting a number of projects that examine the geomorphology of the Nechako River.  Please refer to our reports page for further information on those projects. 

Would you like to attend River's Day scheduled for the 28 Sept 2014?  For details please check our Events page! 

To view the CKPG newstory on the Recovery Facility, click this link:

Just Released! The final Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy for White Sturgeon in Canada.  Visit our Recovery Plan page to download the strategy. 

Read More About Nechako White Sturgeon in the News.

Every Sturgeon Counts!  Learn about our Emergency Sturgeon Live Release Boat Kit Program.

Download our most recent annual report.

For more information on any of our programs please visit the individual web page tab. 


CONGRATULATIONS!! On January 31st 2008, at the regional Premier's Awards in Prince George, the NWSRI won a Silver Award in recognition of our our teamwork and success in promoting white sturgeon stewardship and work towards recovery of the population.

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