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Sturgeon Salvage Network

The Shortnose Sturgeon Salvage Network was formed to improve documentation of endangered shortnose sturgeon found dead in the wild, and to capitalize on research and educational uses from salvaged specimens. Until recently, there were missed opportunities to investigate, collect or sample dead shortnose sturgeon found opportunistically in the wild due to the limited number of permit holders that are authorized to handle them.


Shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum)
Delaware River dredging salvage.
In 2007, an Endangered Species Act Section 10 permit (#1614) was obtained from the National Marine Fisheries Service Office of Protected Resources to salvage dead shortnose sturgeon from several sources: 1) those found deceased in the wild, 2) those euthanized in permitted captive-rearing facilities and 3) those taken lethally in permitted research activities.  Permit # 1614 has since expired and a new salvage permit (#17273) has been issued to the Greater Atlantic Region to provide authorizations for salvage incidents in the NMFS Greater Atlantic and Southeast Regions.

In 2007, an Endangered Species Act Section 10 permit (#1614) was obtained from the National Marine Fisheries Service Office of Protected Resources to salvage dead shortnose sturgeon from several sources: 1) those found deceased in the wild, 2) those euthanized in permitted captive-rearing facilities and 3) those taken lethally in permitted research activities.  Permit # 1614 has since expired and a new salvage permit (#17273) has been issued to the Greater Atlantic Region to provide authorizations for salvage incidents in the NMFS Northeast and Southeast Regions.

The permit currently authorizes co-investigators, captive breeding facilities and cooperating diagnostic laboratories to sample and retain dead shortnose sturgeon and their parts for education, research and diagnostic analyses. This initiative increases the chances that dead sturgeon will be documented, examined for signs of what may have caused the mortality, scanned for tags, and sampled for genetics and age structures. This information is recorded on a sturgeon salvage form and entered in an electronic database maintained at NOAA Fisheries Service’s Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office. The dataset that results from these efforts will prove useful in future management objectives.

Accomplishments to date as a result of the salvage permit include, but are not limited to:

Shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) at the VA Aquarium and Living Museum.  Photo credit: Edith Carson (NOAA)

Additionally, this work will help to promote conservation of shortnose sturgeon by enabling educators to receive and maintain shortnose sturgeon specimens including whole preserved fish and scutes. Exhibits that include “hands-on” learning are especially effective in encouraging appreciation for this unique, endangered fish.

If you are interested in being part of the salvage network please contact Lynn Lankshear (Lynn.Lankshear@noaa.gov or 978-282-8473) for more information.  Addition to the network requires the interested individual, rearing facility, or cooperating laboratory, to submit a curriculum vitae/or resume for review.  If the requesting individual, facility, or lab, is found to have the appropriate expertise, the salvage permit (#17273) will be modified to authorize the individual as a co-investigator or cooperating facility and/or laboratory, to collect, sample, and/or retain sturgeon parts for education, research, and/or diagnostic purposes.