Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
The lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) is resident in the North and South Saskatchewan rivers of Alberta. Because of their confined distribution, low abundance, and vulnerability to anthropogenic impacts, lake sturgeon in Alberta have been the focus of specific management actions for nearly 60 years.Lake sturgeon harvest was prohibited in Alberta from 1940 to 1968, after which a limited harvest was again permitted, but only as a hook-and-line sport fishery. After being reopened the fishery was primarily managed as a “trophy” fishery. Sport fishery harvest statistics have been compiled annually since 1968, through mail-out questionnaires sent to all holders of sturgeon angling licenses.Few research studies have been undertaken on the life history or habitat requirements of lake sturgeon in the province, and biologists have relied primarily on anglers to provide information for management decisions. Preliminary population information for the South Saskatchewan River, from mark-recapture data, suggests a population size of about 3700 fish. Recent studies in the North Saskatchewan River indicate a population of about 1300 fish. Studies indicate that a portion of the population in both rivers is trans-boundary, moving between the waters of the adjoining provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, and creating concerns because of differences in angling regulations. During recent decades, major consumptive uses of water have also contributed to depletion of lake sturgeon habitat in the province.After reviewing past management strategies and actions, Alberta Environmental Protection implemented a number of regulatory changes in 1987 to further protect lake sturgeon populations in the province while continuing to provide angling opportunities and maintaining a controlled harvest.
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