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Lake Sturgeon - Environmental Concerns

Preservation of habitat is the single most important factor in maintaining conditions for the survival of the lake sturgeon. Changes in habitat have seriously reduced the capacity of our waters to produce these fish. Dams prevent the fish from traveling to their spawning grounds, and the change in water flow brought about by hydroelectric power plants may reduce the number of bottom organisms lake sturgeon feed on and interfere with the hatching of sturgeon eggs.

Like many fish, sturgeon require stable, moderate levels of oxygen to survive. Polluted waters have less available oxygen; in winter and midsummer, these oxygen levels may drop too low, resulting in death for the lake sturgeon and other species.

Sturgeon that live in polluted waters may accumulate some pollutants in their tissues at high concentrations in part because they are long-lived but also because they can have high levels of fat. Wisconsin's statewide fish consumption advisory recommends that women of childbearing years and children not eat sturgeon more frequently than one meal per month and men and older women not eat sturgeon more frequently than one meal per week. In addition, people who eat fish should consult the Department's fish consumption advisories for the waters from which sturgeon should be eaten less frequently because of higher concentrations of contaminants such as the Great Lakes and larger, industrialized rivers.

Contact information
For more information, please contact:
Karl Scheidegger
Fisheries biologist
Last revised: Friday August 31 2012