by Jonathan Brown
on February 9th, 2012
Atlantic Sturgeon now listed as Endangered Species. You might have heard this story on NPR’s Weekend Edition this past Saturday (Feb. 4).
Now this New York Times article takes a look:
The sturgeon, in decades long past, commonly exceeded 14 feet and 800 pounds. In the late 1800s, the fish were so abundant in the Hudson River that they were stacked like logs on sloop decks and the smoked flesh gained the nickname Albany beef. But they suffered two great population crashes, first toward the end of the 19th century and again in the last years of the 20th century.
Starting in 1996, all fishing of the New York sturgeon population was stopped under a moratorium that persists today.
Tags: environment, Hudson River, wildlife
when i was about 7 or 8 a neighbor who gill netted (this was the sixties) caught a sturgeon. It was the most prehistoric thing i ever saw, it swam it’s way into the Great South Bay off the coast of Long Island, by way of an inlet from the Atlantic. It was huge, it was ugly and it was full of roe. It was my first try of caviar. Didn’t love it, but i knew i was witnessing something special.
It tore that net up a good deal. The next day it was hung from the clothesline in his back yard while he wove and tied in a repair (the net).
The fish was in the smoker.
My grandfather used to catch sturgeon in the Detroit River. This resulted in my grandmother knowing what sturgeon was supposed to taste like. One day she ordered it in Toledo and her first taste told her she was served catfish. Nothing wrong with catfish but when you pay for sturgeon, you want sturgeon.
Which brings me to the St. Lawrence Seaway and how it resulted in the introduction of lamprey eels and the destruction of commercial fishing in the Great Lakes.
From Pete’s keyboard: “Which brings me to the St. Lawrence Seaway and how it resulted in the introduction of lamprey eels and the destruction of commercial fishing in the Great Lakes.”
Sea Lamprey are not true eels just colloquially called such because of their appearance. Seaway had virtually no impact on the prevalence of Sea Lamprey in the Great Lakes unless the one built while I was in High School was not the one of which you speak. Opening of the Welland Canal, by passing Niagara Falls in 1829, allowed the Sea Lamprey access to the Great Lakes.
The Sea Lamprey were likely well ensconced in the Great Lakes during the commercial heydays of lake fishing as the effects of their presence was demonstrably evident in the late 40’s culminating in the collapse of commercial fishing by 60-61in all lakes.