2024 News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 18 2024

CONSERVATIONISTS CELEBRATE OVER $110K RAISED FOR WHITE STURGEON; 

CURRENT STOCK ASSESSMENT JUST RELEASED ‘CONCERNING BUT HOPEFUL’

Successful result of fundraising efforts is critical given the recent population assessment and trends for Lower Fraser River White Sturgeon. The current status is described as “concerning but hopeful.” 


Vancouver, BC - The Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society (FRSCS) announced today the successful results of its annual “Keeping the Legend Alive! FRSCS Sturgeon Conservation Challenge and Gala Awards Dinner and Auction fundraiser, raising over $110K for sturgeon conservation.  The only event of its kind, the Challenge event brings together passionate, sturgeon conservation enthusiasts to help collect data, engage in some friendly competition for prizes, and to raise much needed funds to support the FRSCS efforts.  100% of the proceeds support conservation of White Sturgeon. 


This announcement comes on the heels of the recent completion of updated abundance estimates using all available data through 2023, indicating a continued decline in the overall population.  Data also suggests that the overall rate of decline of juvenile sturgeon has appeared to slow, inspiring hope for the future, however, additional data is needed.  While the data also shows the mature adult population is increasing, the overall decline in abundance levels represents a significant concern for the reproductive future of the species. 


Since the launch of the program in 2000, over 190,880 samples have been collected by program volunteers. The abundance estimate for sturgeon aged 7-55 years, in the study area in up to 2023 is just over 50,000 individuals. The estimates for all years from 2000-2021 are higher than are those previously reported but still show a declining trend since 2006.  The increase in the annual abundance estimates is the result of incorporating new data from 2022 and 2023 and modifications to the population assessment model to account for the observed decline in sturgeon growth rates.  These declining trends in abundance and growth rates are ongoing concerns. Declines in the abundance of Fraser salmon and eulachon in the lower Fraser River each year are likely the key factors affecting the growth rate for sturgeon. 


“We are grateful for our Sturgeon Conservation Challenge participants and to everyone who helped raise funds through our Keeping the Legend Alive Gala Awards Dinner and Auction,” said Robert Reyerse, FRSCS Chair. “Given the significant concern regarding the long-term sustainability of sturgeon, another successful year of our event means we can keep the sturgeon recovery moving forward.”


John Rissling, FRSCS Fundraising Chair said, “This event is a unique opportunity for sturgeon champions to come together and help inspire other to get involved and learn more about what we can all do to make a difference. We have to keep our focus on a future for this incredible species and it is clear from our data that they need our help.”


The FRSCS is a research-based, independent, and unbiased non-profit organization dedicated to the recovery and protection of White Sturgeon.  FRSCS monitoring, assessment, and research activities help to identify and address issues that may impact the recovery and survival of White Sturgeon. 


FRSCS Lower River White Sturgeon Monitoring and Assessment Program - Program Summary 2023


For more information contact:
Sarah Schreier, Executive Director, FRSCS
Email: sarah@frasersturgeon.com Phone: 778-322-7345

Photo of adult White Sturgeon being sampled by boat

Fraser-Sturgeon-Sampling

Sampling an adult White Sturgeon prior to release. Photo: Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society.

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HELP KEEP A LEGEND ALIVE


FRASER RIVER STURGEON CONSERVATION SOCIETY
#300 – 1682 West 7th Avenue, Vancouver, BC V6J 4S6
Tel: 604-454-7105 Fax: 604-664-7665
Mobile: 778-322-7345 Email: info@frasersturgeon.com

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