Who are the Nechako
Why These Animals Are
Important To Us
White sturgeon have been an integral part of the traditional fishery and the history for First Nations peoples in British Columbia . They have been used for food and in ceremonies for many thousands of years in North America .
White Sturgeons were harvested commercially during the late 1800’s and early 1900s in the Fraser and Columbia Rivers . Sturgeons were used for:
Swim bladders (isinglass) to clarify beer and wine
Flesh (Meat )
Other parts and isinglass (Glue)
The Columbia River sturgeon production was second to that of Russia for Caviar production.
Currently, no white sturgeon in the Fraser River watershed can be retained by an angler. In the Nechako it is illegal to even fish for them. The Nechako white sturgeon stocks are close to extinction, having approximately 571 adults left. This is why the BC Conservation Data Center describes the Nechako White Sturgeon population as “critically imperilled”. As well, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) recently listed all white sturgeon in Canada (BC) as “Endangered.” The Provincial Government stopped the commercial harvest of this fish in the Fraser long ago and the recreational harvest in 1994.
White Sturgeon populations have adapted, to the specific characteristics of their environment, over thousands of years. Maintaining individual fish populations and their unique genetic characteristics is very important.
Humans have gained an appreciation and respect for this fish species. We realize that we have a responsibility to ensure that our activities don’t result in their demise, so they can be enjoyed by future generations. The ability to maintain biodiversity, or the species and habitats that have adapted to the land base we occupy and the waterways we utilize, is an indicator of the health of the environment and the sustainability of our activities.