US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



J. Appl. Ichthyol. 23 (2007), 457–464


This article is a U.S. government work, and is not subject to copyright in the United States.


Demographic models for the shovelnose (Scaphirhynchus platorynchus) and pallid (S. albus) sturgeons in the Lower Missouri River were developed to conduct sensitivity analyses for both populations. Potential effects of increased fishing mortality on the shovelnose sturgeon were also evaluated. Populations of shovelnose and pallid sturgeon were most sensitive to age-0 mortality rates as well as mortality rates of juveniles and young adults. Overall, fecundity was a less sensitive parameter. However, increased fecundity effectively balanced higher mortality among sensitive age classes in both populations. Management that increases population-level fecundity and improves survival of age-0, juveniles, and young adults should most effectively benefit both populations. Evaluation of reproductive values indicated that populations of pallid sturgeon dominated by ages >/=35 could rapidly lose their potential for growth, particularly if recruitment remains low. Under the initial parameter values portraying current conditions the population of shovelnose sturgeon was predicted to decline by 1.65% annually, causing the commercial yield to also decline. Modeling indicated that the commercial yield could increase substantially if exploitation of females in ages