Since 2006, tagged juvenile sturgeon have been released annually into the Nechako River through the fish culture program, which is one of the recovery initiatives for the endangered Nechako white sturgeon.
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In North America, white sturgeon are found from Ensenada, Mexico to Cook Inlet, Alaska. Some white sturgeon live in estuaries along the Pacific coast, while other white sturgeon, like the Nechako White Sturgeon, live in river watersheds.
Did you know that White Sturgeon are the largest freshwater fish in North America and can weigh over 500 kilograms, be over 5 meters in length (the largest recorded was over 6 meters long), and live for over 100 years? White Sturgeon in the Nechako watershed tend to be smaller, but can still live just as long!
The largest white sturgeon caught in the Nechako watershed by researchers include:
- 2004 - A fish 2.92 meters long weighing 152 kg in Stuart Lake.
- 2007 - A fish 2.91 meters long weighing 145 kg in the Nechako River.
- 2002 - A fish 2.73 meters long weighing 123 kg in Stuart Lake.
- 2007 - A fish 1.99 meters long weighing 113 kg in the Nechako River
Individuals can swim hundreds of kilometers between winter and summer habitats.
Did you know that sturgeon eggs are around 3.5 mm in diameter? And the average size of the 4 month old sturgeon released at the annual Save Our Sturgeon events is 14 cm. That means your fish grew 40x bigger in just 4 months. If you had the same growth rate, at 4 months old you would have measured over 20.4 meters in length (65.6 ft)!
- The only known sturgeon spawning site in the Nechako River is in Vanderhoof at Riverside Park.
- The large lakes in the watershed provide overwintering habitat.
- The Nechako White Sturgeon Recovery Centre is a conservation hatchery supporting the recovery of the sturgeon in this river.
The primary human activities that threaten white sturgeon include:
- habitat loss
- river regulation
- invasive species introductions
- direct and indirect harvest
- loss of food source