California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Sturgeon. CDFW photo by Harry Morse.Life cycle chart of sturgeon in California.

Sturgeon

Acipenser spp.

White (Acipenser transmontanus) and green (Acipenser medirostris) sturgeon are native to California. They are anadromous, meaning they move from the salt and brackish water to freshwater to spawn. Sturgeon are long-lived and can live to be 100 years or older. Sturgeon reach sexual maturity at around 15 years old. Mature females spawn every 2 to 4 years. Large females produce many more eggs than their smaller counterparts. Very high flow years lead to sturgeon spawning success. Long life, late sexual maturity and infrequent spawning contribute to the vulnerability of the sturgeon population.

Status in California's Bay and Delta

The green sturgeon is federally listed as threatened in 2006. White sturgeon are not listed, but the American Fisheries Society considers their survival dependent on conservation measures taken to protect them.

Learn More:

Take Action to Help Sturgeon

What is CDFW doing now?

  • Increased monitoring
  • Sturgeon Fishing Report Cards provide valuable information
  • Regulation changes as needed
  • Evaluate changes in habitat quality
  • Examine delta hydrology and water project operations year-round

What can you do?

Anglers can assist the Delta ecosystem and sturgeon recovery in several ways:

  • Fill-out and return Sturgeon Fishing Report Cards to PO Box 944209, Sacramento CA 94244.
  • Water Conservation - The more water we conserve the less water needs to be exported from the Delta.
  • Stop the spread of invasive species - Thoroughly clean your fishing gear and vessels (waders, boat bilge, bait tanks) before moving from one water to another.
  • Storm Drains - Be aware that what goes into a storm drain comes out in the Delta and impacts our fisheries. Use pesticides wisely and as directed.
  • Stay informed and share information with your friends.
A species present in such small numbers that it is at risk of extinction. Species receive this designation from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
An anadromous fish is a fish which spawns in freshwater, migrates to the ocean to grow up then returns to freshwater to spawn and complete its lifecycle.