Scaphirhynchus Conference: Alabama, Pallid, and Shovelnose Sturgeon

St. Louis, Missouri, 11-13 January 2005

25.  CHANGES IN SHOVELNOSE STURGEON (SCAPHIRHYNCHUS PLATORYNCHUS) ABUNDANCE DURING WINTER SAMPLING IN THE MIDDLE MISSISSIPPI RIVER.

David P. Herzog*, Missouri Dept. of Conservation, Open Rivers and Wetlands Field Station, Jackson, MO 63755; Phone 573-243-2659; FAX 573-243-2897; David.Herzog@mdc.mo.gov

Vince Travnichek, Missouri Dept. of Conservation, Northwest Regional Office, 701 James McCarthy Dr., St. Joseph, MO 64507; Phone 816-271-3111; FAX 816-271-3107; Vince.Travnichek@mdc.mo.gov

David Ostendorf, Missouri Dept. of Conservation, Open Rivers and Wetlands Field Station, Jackson, MO 63755; Phone 573-243-2659; FAX 573-243-2897; David.Ostendorf@mdc.mo.gov

Valerie Barko, Missouri Dept. of Conservation, Open Rivers and Wetlands Field Station, Jackson, MO 63755; Phone 573-243-2659; FAX 573-243-2897; Valerie.Barko@mdc.mo.gov

Joe Ridings, Missouri Dept. of Conservation, Open Rivers and Wetlands Field Station, Jackson, MO 63755; Phone 573-243-2659; FAX 573-243-2897; Joseph.Ridings@mdc.mo.gov

Jason Crites, Missouri Dept. of Conservation, Open Rivers and Wetlands Field Station, Jackson, MO 63755; Phone 573-243-2659; FAX 573-243-2897; Jason.Crites@mdc.mo.gov

Collin Beachum, Missouri Dept. of Conservation, Open Rivers and Wetlands Field Station, Jackson, MO 63755; Phone 573-243-2659; FAX 573-243-2897; Collin.Beachum@mdc.mo.gov

Sturgeon stocks worldwide are threatened because of habitat destruction, over-harvest, and the caviar market.  From 1997 through 2004, we sampled portions of the Middle Mississippi River (MMR; between confluences of the Ohio and Missouri Rivers) to determine the status of Scaphirhynchus spp. at over wintering areas.  We noted a marked decline in shovelnose sturgeon (S. platorynchus) catch from 1997 to 2002.  From 1998 to 2001, the pounds of S. platorynchus harvested on the Mississippi River by Missouri commercial fishermen increased over 1000%.  During the same period harvest of pallid sturgeon (S. albus) was documented and harvest of lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) was suspected.  Several studies are ongoing to determine stock assessment using population estimation techniques to better monitor Scaphirhynchus spp. populations within the Mississippi River.  We believe basin-wide standardized monitoring will be instrumental and essential for tracking long term affects of the caviar market on Mississippi River Scaphirhynchus spp.