Seafood Watch - Seafood Guide

Sturgeon, Shovelnose

© Monterey Bay Aquarium
SEAFOODRATINGMARKET NAMESLOCATION/CERTIFICATIONHOW CAUGHT/FARMED
Sturgeon Good Alternative: These are good alternatives to the best choices column. There are some concerns with how they are fished or farmed – or with the health of their habitats due to other human impacts. White, Beluga, Siberian, Russian & Stellate Sturgeon U.S. Farmed
Sturgeon Avoid: Avoid these products for now. These fish come from sources that are overfished or fished or farmed in ways that harm the environment. White, Beluga, Siberian, Russian & Stellate Sturgeon Imported Wild
Sturgeon, Green Good Alternative: These are good alternatives to the best choices column. There are some concerns with how they are fished or farmed – or with the health of their habitats due to other human impacts. White, Beluga, Siberian, Russian & Stellate Sturgeon U.S. Wild
Sturgeon, Shovelnose Avoid: Avoid these products for now. These fish come from sources that are overfished or fished or farmed in ways that harm the environment. Sand Sturgeon, Hackleback, Switchtail, Flathead Mississippi River Wild
Sturgeon, White Good Alternative: These are good alternatives to the best choices column. There are some concerns with how they are fished or farmed – or with the health of their habitats due to other human impacts. Columbia, Sacramento, Oregon & Pacific Sturgeon Lower Columbia River Wild
Sturgeon, White Best Choice: These fish are abundant, well managed and fished or farmed in environmentally friendly ways. Columbia, Oregon, Pacific & Sacramento Sturgeon Canadian Pacific Farmed in Tank Systems


Sturgeon, Wild

Imported wild-caught white sturgeon, shovelnose sturgeon and paddlefish are rated as "Avoid". White sturgeon caught in the lower Columbia River is a "Good Alternative."

Health Alert

Environmental Defense Fund has issued a consumption advisory for wild imported sturgeon due to elevated levels of mercury and PCBs.

Summary

The demand for caviar has depleted most of the world's wild sturgeon populations. Caviar is the salted eggs or "roe" of sturgeon. Some of the world's best caviar comes from the Caspian Sea and is imported from Iran, Russia and Turkey. The U.S. also has wild sturgeon - white and shovelnose (also known as hackleback) and paddlefish that are harvested for their eggs. These are all rated as "Avoid."

Sturgeon and paddlefish are long-lived, slow-growing fish that reproduce late in life, traits that make them vulnerable to overfishing. In addition, fishery management is weak and many sturgeon are caught illegally. This, combined with water pollution and habitat loss due to dams, has further impacted sturgeon and paddlefish populations and some are at risk of extinction.

Most farmed sturgeon in the U.S. is raised in environmentally friendly farms, where the fish are completely enclosed in tanks and waste water can be treated.

The sturgeon of the Caspian Sea, a traditional source of caviar, is nearing extinction. There are very few commercial fisheries left in the U.S. for sturgeon because of historic overfishing and depleted populations. One of the few well-managed wild sturgeon fisheries is located in the lower Columbia River in Washington and Oregon. However, even this population is vulnerable to overfishing.



Scientific Reports About Our Ratings
Seafood Watch Card Print a pocket-size Seafood Watch guide to take with you.
Mobile phone users log on to mobile.seafoodwatch.org.

iPhone® and iPod touch® users, you can get the most up-to-date Seafood Watch recommendations on your iPhone or iPod touch.

How fish are caught or farmed makes a difference. Fishing boat