Sturgeon Aquaculture


North American sturgeon aquaculture started in 1979 with a grant from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to researchers at the University of California, Davis for the purpose of developing suitable spawning techniques of the white sturgeon, Acipenser transmontanus.  Dr. Serge Doroshov and his team of researchers collected wild broodstock from the Sacramento River and worked on developing methods to reliably spawn this species.  The results of this early work and subsequent sturgeon research led to opportunities for commercial sturgeon culture.  Initially, white sturgeon was the species of choice, but by 2012, North American sturgeon farming has expanded to more than 21 sturgeon farms in the U.S. and Canada culturing 8 sturgeon species including white (A. transmontanus), Atlantic (A. oxyrinchusoxyrinchus), shortnose (A. brevirostrum), Siberian (A. baerii), Russian (A.gueldenstaedtii), beluga (Huso huso), sevruga (A. stellatus), and sterlet (A. ruthenus).


Sturgeon aquaculture products include live fish sales, processed fish, specialty items such as notochord for certain recipes, scutes for jewelry, skin for leather and of course, caviar. North American sturgeon production in 2012 was approximately 1,350 metric tons. Estimated sturgeon production by 2017 may exceed 2,200 metric tons.