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Abundant Harvest of Fall Fingerling Lake Sturgeon Assists State and Tribal Partners to Restore MidwesternPopulations
Midwest Region, September 30, 2010
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LaCrosse Fish and Wildlife Conservation Biologist Scott Yess(right) and White Earth Tribal Biologist Hold hatchery sturgeon recaptured in sturgeon population assessment at the White Earth Reservation (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo)
LaCrosse Fish and Wildlife Conservation Biologist Scott Yess(right) and White Earth Tribal Biologist Hold hatchery sturgeon recaptured in sturgeon population assessment at the White Earth Reservation (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo) - Photo Credit: n/a

Lake sturgeon fingerlings grew and prospered under the watchful care of their guardians at the Genoa (WI) hatchery this summer.  Over 50,000 7-8 inch lake sturgeon fingerlings of 2 strains were reared for state and tribal partners in the Midwest. 

From Missouri to Minnesota, lake sturgeon biologists were able to meet or exceed stocking goals in proscribed lake sturgeon management and restoration plans in order to either re-introduce lake sturgeon in areas they had been extirpated or introduced into areas where populations were reduced drastically.  

Lake sturgeon populations are highly susceptible to overharvest, point source pollution and dam construction which covers spawning and nursery habitat and blocks migration routes.    This year’s keepers of the sturgeon included 2 Student Temporary Employment Program enrollees, one Student Career Employment Program Enrollee and 2 staff biologists. 

This may seem like a lot of staff to raise 50,000 fish compared to some species, but lake sturgeon are a relatively high maintenance fish.  They must have their tanks cleaned twice daily, and their food must actually be hatched out and raised for them in their first 3 months of life. 

Constant care and attention must be given to the sturgeon fry and fingerlings to ensure good health and condition at the time of stocking.  They are also inspected by the LaCrosse Fish Health Center before their release to further safeguard receiving waters from the introduction of an introduced fish pathogen. 

Most of the sturgeon are also tagged with a micro-tag to be able to identify the lot and year class of the lake sturgeon when it is released in the wild.  Once the growing season begins to slow in the fall of the year, the fish are ready to be released into restoration areas.  It is hoped that the continued efforts of stocking lake sturgeon will provide viable and healthy populations for future generations of Americans to enjoy.


Contact Info: Doug Aloisi, 608-689-2605, Doug_Aloisi@fws.gov



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