A study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has officially confirmed sturgeon spawning in the San Joaquin River.
The study, spurred by California State Department of Fish and Wildlife reports of anglers fishing sturgeon in the river, verified spawning on the San Joaquin in 2011 and 2012. The study showed that white sturgeon use the river for spawning during wet and dry years.
Anglers and state wildlife officials noted that sturgeon caught during March and April expel eggs during handling, showing that spawning was happening nearby. State fish and wildlife wardens told federal officials that poachers went after spawning sturgeon on the San Joaquin near Grayson.
The roe of spawning sturgeon can be processed into caviar, fetching $150 a pound on the black market, according to state officials.
California's green and white sturgeon mature late, spawn infrequently and are dependent on certain environmental conditions, according to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife press release.
Green sturgeon are federally threatened species and can't be sportfished.
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