Do Breaching Sturgeon Indicate Population Abundance? - The Fisherman

Do Breaching Sturgeon Indicate Population Abundance?

Atlantic sturgeon historic populations have declined by 99 percent due to the combined effects of overharvest, habitat loss, and human interactions. Recovery efforts have been on-going for over two decades; however, logistical, endangered status and fiscal constraints make it difficult to estimate population size and evaluate the efficacy of conservation. What can breaching sturgeon tell us about population recovery?

During 2022, in collaboration with academics, federal scientists and a local Yacht Club, the NYSDEC embarked on a novel project to monitor adult spawning Atlantic sturgeon for breaching in the Hudson River. There has been an increase in the number of reports of breaching sturgeon near the spawning area. Could the number of breaching adults serve as an index of abundance? They’re using a remote camera to film Atlantic sturgeon breaching at a known spawning site in the Hudson River, NY. They will correlate the number of breaching sturgeon to a suite of environmental variables and estimates of local spawner abundance. Results will be used to determine if breaching behavior occurs more often during certain times of day or tides. The data will also provide outreach material to help minimize human-sturgeon interactions.