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Ontario Moves To Protect Sturgeon

Archived News Release

Ontario Moves To Protect Sturgeon

McGuinty Government Restricts Harvest In Both Recreational And Commercial Fisheries

As of July 1, 2008, recreational anglers will no longer be allowed to keep any lake sturgeon they catch.

Evidence shows that overharvesting is a major factor in putting the species at risk. As a result, only catch and release of this species will be allowed.

Traditional use of lake sturgeon by Aboriginal peoples for subsistence and ceremonial purposes will not be affected.

This change will affect 16 of the 20 Fisheries Management Zones in the province.  Two zones already have zero catch and possession limits and two zones have closed seasons.

To further protect the species

  • no recreational fishing for lake sturgeon will be permitted on the Mississagi River
  • the province will reduce the commercial fishing quotas across the province to zero in 2009.

Ontario's lake sturgeon has declined considerably over the last century, with only about 100 water systems now supporting viable sturgeon populations.

The ministry will be consulting with stakeholders and Aboriginal people to develop a long-term province-wide management strategy that will address issues affecting the sustainability of sturgeon populations.

Quick Facts

  • The lake sturgeon is the largest and longest lived of any of Canada’s freshwater species.
  • An adult sturgeon can reach a length of 2.5 metres, weigh more than 150 kilograms and live more than 100 years.

Background Information

Additional Resources


“Overharvesting of lake sturgeon is a serious threat to its sustainability. We are taking action in Ontario to protect the long-term health and recovery of this species.”

Donna Cansfield

Minister of Natural Resources



Environment and Energy