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Lake Sturgeon

Lake Sturgeon

Photo Credit: Aquatarium

Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens)

Status: Threatened

With a face only a mother could love (not true, I think they are beautiful) the Lake Sturgeon is an ancient fish with ancestry that goes back to the Late Cretaceous. Once prized for their eggs and meat, in the late 1800's Lake Sturgeon were fished relentlessly. Their numbers were so high that they were considered a nuisance. Millions of pounds of sturgeon were harvested and, in addition to being sold for food, they were used for animal feed, buried in the ground for fertilizer and even dried and stacked like cord wood and used as fuel on steam ships. The fishery collapsed before the start of the 20th century and the numbers have never rebounded. The oldest known specimen of this fish, from Lake Huron, is 155 years old. They are slow growing and reach maturity at ten years old. The females only spawn every 4-9 years and invasive species like the Round Goby impact how many new sturgeon are born. They are shy and like waters with muddy bottoms where they can find the small worms and crustaceans that make up their diet. A true survivor and with continued conservation efforts these amazing creatures are rebounding from the brink of extinction.