The only Canadian occurrence of the shortnose sturgeon is in the St. John River, New Brunswick. In the United States, its range is the tidal rivers and coastal waters from Maine to Florida. However, the species has disappeared from much of this range, primarily because of pollution and dams, which prevent the fish from reaching their spawning grounds.
Shortnose sturgeons are relatively small for sturgeons; they are usually 46 to 61 cm (18 to 24 in.) long, but they can grow up to 143 cm (56 in.) in length.
Although a rare species in Canada, some are caught accidentally in commercial fishing operations, and, according to size limitations, may be marketed. Recommendations for protection include pollution controls, larger gill-net mesh-size, and the use of traps instead of gill nets.