Rebirth of Lake Sturgeon: Freshwater Species of the Week

18 Feb, 2013 - By

Topping six feet (two meters) long and weighing nearly 200 pounds (90 kilograms), lake sturgeon once roamed rivers and lakes of the Mississippi River, Hudson Bay, and the Great Lakes. Unchanged from prehistoric times, the lake sturgeon has unusual features not seen in today’s fish, including an external skeleton that gives it an armored appearance.

But this ancient survivor has had trouble fending off human threats, including overfishing in the late 1800s, dams that have blocked migrations, and industrial pollution that has poisoned the fish’s spawning grounds.

Today there are genetically unique populations of sturgeons in at least eight rivers around Lake Michigan, with about 166 fish in the Kalamazoo River, according to Kregg Smith, senior fisheries biologist.


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