Atlantic sturgeon are dinosaur-era fish with bony plates and sandpaper hide that were once the kings of the Chesapeake Bay and other waterways along the East Coast.These giants with long snouts, whiskers and soft mouths were once so common that during their spring spawning runs up rivers, their bodies – sometimes 15 feet long and 800 pounds – would crowd streams like living logjams.Sturgeon were a mainstay in the diet of many Native Americans, who speared the fish from canoes and used every part of the animals. English colonists, however, regarded sturgeon mostly as nuisance and a trash fish.That was until the 1870's, when a vast industry developed to slaughter sturgeon for their eggs, also known as caviar. By 1900, virtually all sturgeon in North America were wiped out – the passive creatures speared by the millions as they traveled up streams, their bodies left to rot. And then the caviar industry moved on to Russia. For decades, biologists in the Chesapeake Bay region assumed Atlantic Sturgeon were virtually extinct, harmed also by pollution and dams. A few old adult sturgeon were found at the far southern end of the Bay – in the James River – but there were no young anywhere, foreboding ill for the survival of the species.But then… something miraculous happened.