The lake sturgeon is the largest and longest lived of any of Canada’s freshwater species. An adult sturgeon can reach a length of 2.5 metres, weigh more than 150 kilograms and live more than 100 years.
The lake sturgeon had both cultural and subsistence importance to First Nations peoples. All parts of the fish were used: the meat was used for food; the skin was used as a container to store oil; and the pointed bones along the back were used as arrow heads. Today, lake sturgeon continue to be revered both culturally and as a valued food source to First Nations peoples.
We are fortuitous to have relatively healthy lake sturgeon populations in sections of the Ottawa River, however, these populations are under constant threat from development, exploitation, and more recently poaching due to the collapse of sturgeon stocks in eastern Europe for the caviar trade.
Tim Haxton, a fisheries biologist has been leading research on sturgeon in the Ottawa River. His most recent report summarizes what we know about Lake Sturgeon in the Ottawa River and research needs to ensure their conservation within the Ottawa River.
Under Ontario’s new Endangered Species Act, 2007, lake sturgeon are listed as a species of special concern in Ontario as of June 30, 2008.
The federal government is currently conducting consultation before deciding if lake sturgeon populations will be legally listed under the federal Species at Risk Act.
As of July 1, 2008, recreational anglers in Ontario are no longer be allowed to keep any lake sturgeon they catch.
For more information about Lake Sturgeon you can download a fact sheet on lake sturgeon management in Ontario.