Shortnose sturgeon were first listed as Endangered in 1967 under the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966, a predecessor to the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Jurisdiction was later assumed by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).
The Hudson River population has since made a remarkable recovery showing a 400% increase attributable to the protection they were afforded under the ESA.
Sturgeons do not have scales. Their bodies are armored with several lengthwise rows of bony plates called scutes.
Sturgeons have a heterocercal tail, much like that of sharks.
Shortnose sturgeon are inherently anadromous, and inhabit estuaries and rivers along the Atlantic coast from the Saint John's River in New Brunswick to the Saint John River in Florida. There is also a partially landlocked population of shortnose above Holyoke Dam up to Turners Falls Dam in Massachusetts, and another population of shortnose in the estuary.
Sturgeons have distinctive characteristics which vary slightly from species to species.