What are their problems?
They Should Be Breeding
As discussed above, the Nechako white sturgeon are genetically distinct from sturgeon stocks in the Lower, Middle and Upper Fraser, and information collected since the 1980’s recently confirmed that the white sturgeon population in the Nechako has suffered a “recruitment failure.” If the current trend continues there won’t be any Nechako sturgeon in 40-50 years.
Scientists are not entirely sure why juveniles are not recruiting to or joining the population. A few possible reasons are:
Nechako White sturgeon are not compelled to spawn due to river conditions.
Nechako White sturgeon are not spawning successfully.
Nechako White sturgeon are spawning, but the subsequent eggs or juvenile fish are not surviving.
It is a complex issue to understand, and Scientists are continuing to work to identify the nature of this problem and its cause.
In the spring of 2004, scientists observed white sturgeon spawning in the Nechako River near Vanderhoof. Subsequent to the spawning event, sturgeon eggs and a larva were captured, confirming that spawning can successfully occur. This increased our understanding of the Nechako issues considerably.