Feds deny endangered species protections to lake sturgeon

By Michael Doyle | 04/22/2024 01:32 PM EDT

Stocking programs have helped reestablish the prehistoric-looking fish, making listing unnecessary, the Fish and Wildlife Service determined.

Three women in orange jackets and pants hold a huge fish, a lake sturgeon.

The Fish and Wildlife Service has decided the lake sturgeon doesn't need Endangered Species Act protections. Justin Chiotti/Fish and Wildlife Service

The prehistoric-looking lake sturgeon may be diminished but it’s neither threatened nor endangered, the Fish and Wildlife Service said Monday in a long-awaited decision that was disappointing to the environmental groups that have advocated on the fish’s behalf.

Prompted by a petition filed in 2018 and a follow-up lawsuit filed in 2020, the federal agency announced its determination that the fish doesn’t qualify for Endangered Species Act protections.

“Although abundance has been drastically reduced, highly and moderately resilient populations are still widely distributed, providing sufficient redundancy for the species rangewide,” the FWS stated.


The FWS added that tribal and state efforts to reestablish the lake sturgeon should keep fish population trends moving in the right direction.