Lake Sturgeon

lake sturgeon, credit: abadonian/Essentials Collection/ Getty Images

Threatened (Great Lake – Upper St. Lawrence River and northwestern Ontario populations) and Special Concern (Southern Hudson Bay/James Bay populations) Provincially, Threatened (Great Lakes – Upper St. Lawrence) Nationally

Description

• Canada’s largest freshwater fish, weighing up to 181 kilograms and reaching over two metres in length long
• Can live more than 100 years
• Ancestral ties to species dating back 200 million years
• Body covered with large bony plates; has cartilage instead of bones
• Dark to light brown or grey on back and sides with lighter underside; extended snout with four whisker-like organs hanging near the mouth for bottom feeding
• Spawns in relatively shallow, fast-flowing water with gravel and boulders at the bottom and will spawn in deeper water where habitat is available

Range

• In Ontario, rivers of the Hudson Bay basin, the Great Lakes basin and their major connecting waterways, including the St. Lawrence River

Threats

• Habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation
• Overfishing
• Pollution
• Non-native species

Protection

• Threatened population provincially protected under the Endangered Species Act, 2007

Fact

Overfishing, habitat loss and declining water quality caused dramatic declines of lake sturgeon following European settlement.

lake sturgeon, credit: abadonian/Essentials Collection/ Getty Images

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