help save the nechako white sturgeon

Nechako White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative (NWSRI)

Dwelling in deep pools of the Nechako River is a survivor from the age of the dinosaurs - the Nechako white sturgeon. This mysterious creature is the largest freshwater fish in Canada, and has existed relatively unchanged for millions of years – surviving volcanic eruptions, ice ages and climatic upheavals. But the Nechako white sturgeon is now swimming in a current of change that is taking it to the very brink of extinction. It is ranked as Critically Imperiled by the British Columbia Conservation Data Centre and is an Endangered Species according to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).

In the last 50 years, the Nechako white sturgeon population has dropped from what some scientists believe was a minimum of 5000 fish to less than 300. And the vast majority of those fish are more than 40 years old. The lack of younger fish means that sturgeon are either not reproducing successfully or that the young are not surviving to adulthood. As sturgeon do not begin spawning until they are 20 to 40 years old, the lack of young sturgeon in the Nechako means that an entire generation is already missing.

But it is not too late! With your help, and the help of other concerned citizens, organizations and governments, the Nechako white sturgeon can be saved.



FALL TOUR TIMES - Thursday at 2 PM.  We hope to see you there!

School Tours - If you would like to book a tour for your classroom, please email us at and we will do our best to accomodate your class. 


September 21, 2016

Juvenile Sturgeon: There are 13,614 juvenile sturgeon in the hatchery at the moment. The average weight is 16.6g. The sturgeon are eating well and growing faster than expected.

Aerial Juvenile Survey: FLNRO completed the aerial juvenile survey, and 45 of 45 radiotagged fish were successfully located in the Nechako River. All but one was upstream of the Stuart River confluence. The one fish was downstream between Isle Pierre rapids and the Stuart River. Juvenile surveys continue with aerial tracking and boat sampling. More information to come.

Interpretive Signs: The outdoor education and interpretive signs have been up since May and have been a great hit with tourists and locals alike. If you aren't able to make it for a guided tour at the hatchery, you can still learn about sturgeon, the Nechako River and the hatchery by taking the outside Self-Guided tour. At the main entrance doors are brochures that can lead you around the signs. Don't forget to play 'The Wheel of Life'! This is a fun way to learn about sturgeon survival and the risks to sturgeon at every life stage.

New Coordinator: We would like to thank Lana Ciarniello for her many years working as the NWSRI Coordinator, and her dedication toward sturgeon recovery. We welcome Michelle Roberge as our new Coordinator, working from Vanderhoof.

Read More About Nechako White Sturgeon  in the News.  To read and/or listen to new stories on the Conservation Facility or other NWSRI initiatives please visit our News page. 

The Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy for White Sturgeon in Canada has been released.  Visit our Recovery Plan page to download the strategy. 

Every Sturgeon Counts!  Learn about our Emergency Sturgeon Live Release Boat Kit Program.

Download our most recent annual report.

For more information on any of our programs please visit the individual web page tab. 


CONGRATULATIONS!! On January 31st 2008, at the regional Premier's Awards in Prince George, the NWSRI won a Silver Award in recognition of our our teamwork and success in promoting white sturgeon stewardship and work towards recovery of the population.

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