Diadromous Fish Research
Photo by Duane Raver, USFWS
The shortnose sturgeon is listed as an endangered species in the U.S. This is a small sturgeon, rarely exceeding 4 feet total length, which occurs in major rivers along the Atlantic coast from Georgia to Canada. Although considered anadromous and under the jurisdiction of the National Marine Fisheries Service, shortnose sturgeon appear to rarely leave their natal river. The only other species of sturgeon with an overlapping range is the Atlantic sturgeon, Acipenser oxyrinchus.
In South Carolina, there appear to be populations in the Savannah River, one or more of the rivers flowing into St. Helena Sound (Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto Rivers), the Cooper River, the Santee River, and one or more Winyah Bay rivers (Pee Dee, Waccamaw, and Black). There may also be a landlocked ("damlocked") population in the Santee-Cooper Lake System (Lakes Marion and Moultrie and tributary rivers). Little is known about the status of any of these populations. Shortnose sturgeon research in South Carolina is being funded by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (Marine Resources Division) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (Protected Resources Section). For more information contact Dr. Mark Collins.