Sturgeon and Paddlefish – U.S., Columbia River, Mississippi River Basin, Alabama River, Drift Gillnets
Wild Sturgeon and Paddlefish in the U.S. have suffered from overfishing and habitat degradation. These species are long-lived, do not reproduce until late in life, and only reproduce periodically, so recovery of these species will be slow. These species are highly valued for their eggs or caviar.
Sturgeon and Paddlefish in the Mississippi River and its tributaries can be caught in 31 states, and each state has its own system of management for these species. Many states do not permit commercial fishing for these species. There is minimal collaboration between states and there is insufficient data on populations to determine sustainable catch levels. Therefore, management is ineffective at protecting these fish from overfishing.
Note: We no longer have a rating for Sturgeon from the Caspian Sea because there are bans in place which prevent the legal harvest of any sturgeon from this area.
This fish may have high levels of mercury and PCBs that could pose a health risk to adults and children. More info here about mercury and PCBs in sturgeon. Check out our mercury in seafood section.