Sturgeon are sometimes described as the “foundation fish.” This is because they allowed the English to keep their toehold in the New World, said Albert Spells, Virginia fisheries coordinator for the U.S. and Wildlife Service.Share
“Sturgeon is the animal that saved America,” Spells said. “But for Atlantic sturgeon, we might be having this conversation in French or Spanish right now. So we stand on the backs of sturgeon.”
Despite their historic significance, however, today sturgeon are at risk of extinction. The National Marine Fisheries Service in October proposed protecting Atlantic sturgeon as an endangered species in the Chesapeake Bay region and elsewhere along the East Coast.
Fishermen in the late 19th and early 20th centuries massacred the passive, slow-reproducing giants for their eggs, better known as caviar, Spells said. Dams blocked their passage upriver, and silt smothered their breeding grounds. (Read entire article.)