The levels of 16 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were determined in the liver, kidney, gills and muscle tissues of Persian sturgeon (Acipenser persicus; n=16), and Stellate sturgeon (Acipenser stellatus; n=7) collected from coastal waters of the South Caspian Sea from March and April 2011. The distribution and composition pattern of PAHs in the different tissues of sturgeons, and the effects of lipid content in sturgeon tissues and the octanol-water partition coefficient (Kow) of PAHs congeners on them were analyzed. The levels of total PAHs in the various tissues of Persian sturgeon and Stellate sturgeon ranged from 2.095 to 6.587 and 1.942 to 6.206 μg g(-1)dw, respectively. Stellate sturgeon showed significantly higher levels of heavy PAHs (⩾ 4-rings) than Persian sturgeon. The analysis has revealed a high degree of differential accumulation of the studied PAHs in the tissues of the both species. Low molecular weight PAHs predominated in the sturgeons, accounting for 81.89% of the total PAHs. Among the sixteen tested PAHs, naphthalene was the most dominant congener, followed by phenanthrene and fluorene. The PAHs levels and distribution in the tissues of sturgeons are dependent on both the Kow of PAH congeners and the lipid content in these tissues. There was a significant positive relationship (r=0.868, p<0.005) between lipid content and PAHs levels. The statistically significant negative relationships (p<0.01) were found between log Kow and log-transformed PAHs levels for muscle tissues of both sturgeon species.