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The Search Continues for Wild Pallid Sturgeon
Midwest Region, June 6, 2014
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Jordan Fox with a Missouri River Pallid Sturgeon.  Although this fish was large enough to be used in propogation, analysis indicated that it was a stocked fish.
Jordan Fox with a Missouri River Pallid Sturgeon. Although this fish was large enough to be used in propogation, analysis indicated that it was a stocked fish. - Photo Credit: Colby Wrasse

Propagation and stocking remain important components of pallid sturgeon recovery on the Missouri River. Our colleagues at Neosho National Fish Hatchery and Blind Pony State Fish Hatchery do a great job in propagating, rearing and stocking pallid sturgeon. For the hatcheries to work their magic, they need adult wild pallid sturgeon, known as brood fish, to collect eggs and milt from.  

To maintain genetic diversity, the hatcheries are in continual need of new brood fish. These brood fish are captured each spring from the Missouri River by fisheries crews deploying trotlines and gill nets. Each year we at Columbia Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office search the Missouri River in hopes of catching large pallid sturgeon to use in the propagation program. However, capturing these fish can be challenging.

Truly wild pallid sturgeon, which are not of hatchery origin, remain relatively rare in the lower Missouri River. Of the 46 pallid sturgeon captured during the 2014 field season, only one of the adult sized fish was genetically determined to be wild. This fish was a reproductive male, and was transported to Neosho NFH for use in propagation. Fortunately, collecting broodstock pallid sturgeon is a team effort and our colleagues at the Missouri Department of Conservation and Nebraska Game and Parks captured several broodstock pallid sturgeon this year.

The collaborative team approach to propagation has led to stockings which have greatly supplemented the pallid sturgeon population in the lower Missouri River. Hopefully some day pallid sturgeon populations in the lower Missouri River will be robust enough that stocking will no longer be necessary, but until that day, we will continue working with our partners on pallid sturgeon recovery in the lower Missouri River.


Contact Info: Colby Wrasse, 573-234-2132 x30, colby_wrasse@fws.gov



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