Gulf sturgeon number initially declined due to overfishing throughout most of the 20th century. Habitat loss was exacerbated by the construction of water control structures, such as dams and "sills", mostly after 1950. Other habitat disturbances such as dredging, groundwater extraction, irrigation, and flow alterations also threaten the Gulf sturgeon. Poor water quality and contaminants, primarily from industrial sources, also contribute to population declines.
(Office of Protected Resources, http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/fish/gulfsturgeon.htm)
Historical overharvest led to wide-spread declines in Atlantic sturgeon abundance. A large U.S. commercial fishery (100,000 - 250,000 lbs/yr) existed for Atlantic sturgeon from the 1950s through the mid-1990s; the origin of the fishery dates back to colonial times. Since a 1998 harvest moratorium there have been few surveys to assess status and abundance. "Bycatch" of sturgeon in fisheries targeting other species is a current threat in the ocean environment.
In their estuarine and freshwater habitats, Atlantic sturgeon face additional threats, including habitat degradation and loss from various human activities such as dredging, dams, water withdrawals, and other development. Some populations are being impacted habitat impediments including locks and dams (e.g., Cape Fear and Santee-Cooper Rivers ) and ship strikes (e.g., Delaware and James Rivers). Although there are no known diseases threatening Atlantic sturgeon populations, there is concern that non-indigenous sturgeon pathogens could be introduced through aquaculture operations.
(Office of Protected Resources, http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/fish/atlanticsturgeon.htm)
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