Upper Columbia River Sturgeon Recovery

Project Year: 2016-2017

Sturgeon Release: FWCP

Project Lead

Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C.


Columbia Region

Project Type

Species-Based Actions

FWCP Contribution


Action Plan Alignment

Species of Interest Action Plan

Project ID

Upper Columbia River Sturgeon Recovery 

The population of White Sturgeon in the Canadian portion of the Upper Columbia River is undergoing recruitment failure, where eggs and larvae are not surviving to young fish, and age to maturity to contribute to the next generation. As a result, the  population was listed as endangered under the Species At Risk Act (SARA) in 2006. A conservation aquaculture program, supported by the FWCP, was initiated in 2000 to address recovery while research into recruitment failure occurred.

Approximately 140,000 hatchery‐reared juvenile White Sturgeon have been released into the Canadian portion of the Columbia River from 2002 to 2015. Due to the immense success of the conservation aquaculture program, the program has changed over the past few years, with the focus now being on collecting eggs and larvae that are produced in the wild and rearing them at the hatchery until nine months of age. This method has been shown to represent more wild adults in the juveniles that are released, compared to the traditional method of directly spawning adults at the hatchery. Over 1,000 juveniles were released in the spring of 2015 that were collected as wild eggs and larvae in 2014. While there were some successes in 2015, the collection of wild eggs and larvae yielded only about 75 juveniles for release in the spring of 2016.