14-foot-long Atlantic Sturgeon discovered in Hudson River

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We heard stories from ‘old timers’ of sturgeon 14-feet long. Of course we never believed them.
— Tom Lake

During a special sonar study in the Hudson River last summer, researchers were stunned to discover a 14.1-foot-long Atlantic Sturgeon in the Hudson River near Hyde Park. It was estimated the endangered fish could easily weigh 800 pounds.

Sturgeon are one of the oldest fish families in the world, but they have been at risk of extinction due to their highly valued roe. In the late 1800s, sturgeon meat was commonplace dining fare referred to as “Albany beef,” and therefore, it was in high demand, and that demand lead to the depletion of population numbers in the Hudson River. The species was federally declared endangered in 2012. In 1998, a 40-year moratorium was put in place, making it illegal to catch or possess a sturgeon.

In the summer of 2018, state scientists made the discovery while studying the impacts of anchorage points from commercial vessels on the spawning and foraging of the Atlantic sturgeon.

Some of the scans of the river bottom produced images of sturgeon that were 10-feet-long. However, the queen of the spawning reach was a 14.1-foot-long female Atlantic sturgeon.

It is unknown how old the 14.1-foot-long sturgeon is, but according to the DEC, the oldest recorded individuals were over 60 years old. Estimates based on previous studies have this sturgeon at approximately 75 years old.