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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

Not a Suit and Tee Day

Region 3, August 9, 2012

On 26 July 2012, staff from the Columbia Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office and the Office of Law Enforcement provided an opportunity for Assistant US Attorneys from the Southern District of Illinois to experience the Missouri River up close and personal. The purpose of the river ride-a-long event was to give these attorneys an education about natural resource conservation and commercial fishing activities on the Missouri River. This type of first hand exposure to the river and its resources should aid them as they work in the future to prosecute fish and wildlife cases. The event kicked off with a demonstration and explanation of multiple types of equipment commercial fishermen use to catch sturgeon including a gill net, trammel net, hoop net, and trot line. Columbia FWCO staff explained how the gear would be fished, which species of fish it would most likely catch and how a species of fish can be decimated by overfishing with the equipment.

 

The attorneys were then provided the opportunity to actually assist in retrieving gear that had been set. While the gear was being pulled further information was provided on efforts to recover the pallid sturgeon and why shovelnose sturgeon were also listed in an effort to further protect pallid sturgeon. Large river trawling was also demonstrated and the attorneys had the special treat of seeing a juvenile young of year sturgeon. This provided the Columbia FWCO staff with an opportunity to explain why different collections gears are utilized in fisheries research and what information is being sought with the different sampling techniques. While returning to the boat ramp, Asian carp were observed jumping out of the water. Two Asian carp landed in the boat, which caused quite a stir among some of the attorneys. This provided the opportunity to discuss invasive species and their effects on the native fish community and natural environment.

Events such as this demonstrate how the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service programs can work together to protect resources and accomplish the mission of the Service. The education and information exchange that occurred during this event will go a long way in aiding future fish and wildlife cases.
 

Contact Info: Larry Dean, 612-713-5312, Larry_Dean@fws.gov