By: Tommy Maloney
Summary. In April of 2021 while conducting research on sturgeon the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was able to reel in a 240-pound female sturgeon from the lower Detroit River. The fish measuring in at 6 feet 10 inches long and weighing 240 pounds was estimated to be approximately 100 years old. Sturgeon being a dying species, this is a very stunning specimen to be recorded especially given the location it was caught. News of the giant being caught by Grosse Ile quickly spread around the community. The lower Detroit River is a very heavily fished area by local sportsmen so news of a sturgeon of these dimensions shocked a lot of people. After a five minutes and multiple failed attempts the group of three was able to land the fish. They estimated the fish to have been born in the early 1920’s but believe it could be even older than that. Commercial fisheries severely overfished these sturgeon because of their great taste and the taste of their eggs, also known as caviar. And if it was not the overfishing that killed one of these fish the destruction of their habitat did. Damming their natural habitats creates difficulties breeding for these fish because they require a strong current to be able to reproduce. On top of those two, water pollution has made living conditions for these fish much worse. A fish with a population so great it was seen as a nuisance now relies on us to help rebuild and clean up what they call home in hopes we can bring back their population to a safe and healthy number.
Why we should care? As an avid fisherman I believe preserving and restoring these waters is extremely important giving it is connected with the largest source of fresh water in the world to help preserve it for future generations.
As an avid fisherman in southeast Michigan, hearing of news like this really shocked me. Not only are sturgeon very rare to catch in general, to see one of this size is eye opening. Its reassuring to know that the Detroit River is still healthy enough to be home to such an astonishing specimen. I believe that it is very important to preserve our great lakes and freshwater. In the past there has been a lot of damage done to them by big companies and negligent people. There is a lot to do to restore these waters, but nothing is impossible. These waterways have been very important in producing and exporting goods and conducting trade, but more importantly we are surrounded by the worlds largest source of fresh water in the world, and we need to do everything possible to preserve it for future generations.
Science in Action.
Dr. Kim Scribner is a Professor in the Michigan State University Department of Fisheries and Wildlife.
Kim Scribner is a professor at Michigan State University in their department of fisheries and wildlife. He has recently received a grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. His studies focus on restoring the population of lake sturgeon in Michigan. This is relevant to the topic of my blog because my blog talked about the surprising specimen caught in an area that has been severely affected by habitat damage and overfishing and pollution. Scribner’s work is focused on restoring the population of sturgeon, like the one caught in the Detroit River, and bring them back to a healthy habitat where their population can thrive.
It's really good that sturgeons have such a long lifespan. With all the challenges facing them it is probably really helpful that the ones who can make it will live a long life. I hope something is done to build up their population.
This is such an interesting article! I am not a fisher and know little about this topic, but your article has interested me and I now want to become more educated about fish and the sustainability issues in the Detroit River. The fact that a fish that big was found in a river right in our backyard is another interesting thing to me. Although there may not be many fish that big, I agree that finding a sturgeon that large is good sign because it shows that there is hope and the river is not in total pollution.
This article was very interesting to read! Because I don't know much about fish, I found it very helpful that a lot of background information was included. I had no idea that Sturgeon were a dying species, so it was fascinating to find out that one was discovered so close to us. I was also unaware of how rare it is to catch a Sturgeon of that size at this point in time. I went in questioning why this species was dying, and I was happy to have found my questions answered in the blog!
As someone who is also an avid fisherman and has a huge interest in aquatic ecology this is awesome! It reminds me of the TV show river monsters where biologist Jeremy Wade travels the world for monster sized fish like the Lake Sturgeon. In Black Lake in Cheboygan, which I have been to, you can actually spearfish them once a season because they are common enough there. Over last summer I caught Muskellunge and Northern Pike, so it's good to see the monster fish are sticking around. However a concerning factor is that the Sea Lamprey is killing many of them. All 4 fish I got had either Lampreys on them or marks from Lampreys, which is something of concern. Good article!
I have heard of Sturgeon a lot since I was kid because my dad who isn't a fisherman by any means loved wildlife, and wanted to preserve it. However, I didn't know quite how big Sturgeon could grow to. To think that they could be over 6 feet in length and live for over 100 years is remarkable to me. Another thing is the fact that it has probably been around the Detroit river for years, and has had to survive the pollution that was in that river. When my parents were kids they say no one would swim in the Detroit River because of the pollution, but now it's hard to find a place to swim along Belle Isle because the river has been cleaned up over the years. This just shows how resilient Sturgeon are to stick around. What an interesting article.
As someone who basically has had fish and ponds my entire life this really saddens me. It always seems like humans try to stick our noses into places they dont need to be in. We overcorrect something that nature will correct on its own as it usually does with overpopulation issues. In all due time nature has its ways of maintaining balance and now we're stuck correcting a mistake that could have been entirely avoided.
I found this article to be super interesting. I think preserving water the the life that lives in it is a very important. Also, i think the fact that a fish can live that long is amazing. Hopefully in the future we can find ways to make more animals live a long life.
This article was very intriguing to me because I love to go fishing. I use it as a relaxing recreational activity to just ultimately enjoy the day with. To just sit back, relax, and catch a few fish. I agree with Tommy here that we should be taking more precautions when it comes to Michigan's policies on our lakes and aquatic life. Seeing a fish of this size be caught was surprising to me. Sturgeon are rare and hard to catch as it is, and to see one that has lived this long is remarkable. It makes me want to see more like this outlier of a fish but, with the over fishing and pollution that is caused by humans it is hard for this to happen. So this is why that it is so important that more strict policies are put in place to stop overfishing and pollution in its tracks so that fish like this can live in safe environments and grow.
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