Atlantic sturgeon were once of the most prevalent large fish found in the coastal waters surrounding Ocean City. In the 19th Century, it is estimated over 20,000 sturgeon could be found in this region alone.
The brackish waters of the Sinepuxent Bay — before the creation of the Inlet in 1933 changed the salinity — was a good place for them to spawn and mature. Sturgeon were caught by pound fishermen in the early part of the 20th Century and their caviar canned and shipped north on the railroad.
Overharvesting, climate change and pollution have depleted the population of the Atlantic sturgeon to the point that it is estimated there are less than 400 of these fish in the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed today.
This photo was taken on Assateague Island in 1932. The sturgeon was caught by a surf fisherman.
Photo courtesy Floyd Turner