White sturgeon, Acipenser transmontanus, is an ancient species of ray-finned fishes found only in western North America. They have lived in the deep pools, eddies and estuary of the lower Fraser River Valley since time immemorial.
The white sturgeon is the biggest and longest-lived freshwater fish in Canada. Individual sturgeons can weigh over 450 kilos and be more than three metres long and 100 years in age!
Population decline over decades has led to the lower Fraser white sturgeon being designated Threatened by the independent Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).
The recreational catch-and-release fishery, along with tagging studies, has provided precise population estimates for sturgeon in the Fraser River. While adult populations now appear to be stable or increasing slightly, habitat degradation continues, and juvenile populations are still on the decline.
The side channels of Herrling Island are one of the most important spawning areas on the lower river for white sturgeon. While little can be done to offset the enormous loss of floodplains due to diking, remaining habitats such as the Heart of the Fraser are especially crucial to rebuilding juvenile populations.
“10,000 years of post-glacial island production of fish, and it will be gone just like that.” – Dr. Marvin Rosenau
That’s why we are asking you to sign the petition to oppose further diking and bridge building in the Heart of the Fraser. Please help us protect essential white sturgeon spawning and rearing habitat.