Sturgeon in the Southeast

Sturgeon are among the most primitive of bony fishes.  Their body surface contains five rows of bony plates or “scutes.”  Sturgeon are typically large, long-lived fish that can live in a diversity of habitats, that include freshwater rivers, estuaries, and, for some species marine environments.  There are three species of sturgeon that live in the Southeast: Atlantic, shortnose, and Gulf sturgeon.  Historic overfishing, mainly for their eggs, which are made in to caviar, led to wide-spread declines in their numbers.  The recovery of sturgeon is limited by their low numbers coupled with habitat loss, incidental catch in fisheries for other fish, water pollution, and dams that block their access to up-river spawning areas.  Atlantic, shortnose, and Gulf sturgeon are protected throughout their range and listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Contact Us

To report an injured or dead sturgeon: 

Phone: 1-844-STURG 911
              (1-844-788-7491)
E-mail: nmfs.ser.sturgeonnetwork@noaa.gov

For information related to Atlantic or shortnose sturgeon contact: 
Andrew Herndon
Phone: (727) 824-5367 
E-mail: Andrew.Herndon@noaa.gov

For information related to Gulf sturgeon contact: 
Jason Rueter 
Phone: (727) 824-5350 
E-mail:  Jason.Rueter@noaa.gov

Learn more about their distribution, habitat, threats, population trends, and NOAA Fisheries recovery efforts. 

Maps & GIS Data

Gulf Sturgeon Sampling and Monitoring Protocols

Learn more about their distribution, habitat, threats, population trends, and NOAA Fisheries recovery efforts.

The Southeast Region’s Research Priorities for Shortnose Sturgeon

The Following Organizations Help with Sturgeon Conservation and Management


NOAA Fisheries Northeast Region 

NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service