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East Coast

Endangered Atlantic Sturgeon

by Paul Weamer   |  March 1st, 2012 1

February 28, 2012

The Sturgeon’s Looming Endangered Listing


The New York Times


The ruling by the agency’s National Marine Fisheries Service covers sturgeon in the New York Bight, which includes the Hudson and Delaware rivers, and the Chesapeake, Carolina and South Atlantic populations. The Gulf of Maine population is designated as threatened, a less severe category than endangered.

Atlantic sturgeon numbers have plummeted by as much as 99 percent in some areas of the East Coast, and while NOAA has not yet developed a recovery plan, the new listing could affect as many as 42 fisheries, particularly those that support the gillnetting of monkfish and spiny dogfish, pound-netting of striped bass and trawling for flounder.

“Harvest of sturgeon was like clear-cutting a forest,” Dr. Fox said. “In the late 1800’s, there were four to five railroad cars a day bringing caviar into New York City.” That collapsed the fishery in Caviar Point, N.J., in less than a decade, he said.

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