Skip to comments.Video: Giant Prehistoric Fish Rebounding in Canada
Posted on 12/06/2008 2:39:35 AM PST by JoeProBono
When dozens of white sturgeon began washing up dead on the banks of British Columbia's Fraser River in the mid-1990s, some feared that North America's largest freshwater fish could be headed toward extinction. Once plentiful in the river, the sturgeon population had dropped below 40,000, and scientists were unable to explain the die-offs of mostly female fish. That's when an alliance of government agencies, environmentalists, aboriginal groups, and commercial and recreational fishers came together to save the sturgeon, spurring a robust recovery of the lower Fraser River population.
To Zeb Hogan, who leads National Geographic's Megafishes Project and has studied the sturgeon, it's a rare success story. (Learn about the world's gargantuan freshwater fish.)
"Worldwide, most species of large freshwater fish are in danger of going extinct in the near future," said Hogan, a National Geographic emerging explorer. (The National Geographic Society operates National Geographic News.)
"The white sturgeon seems to have avoided the fate of species like the Chinese paddlefish of the Yangtze River and the critically endangered giant catfish of the Mekong River."
My flipper is almost that big!
(at least I heard rumors...)
You ever see the Fraser river?
I saw it coming across BC in 79.
Any fish that can survive in that river got bigger stones than me!
We’re not talkin nice, American domesticated rivers here.
Makes the Colorado look like a mud puddle!
Sturgeon are magnificent creatures. Huge and reptilian-looking. Prehistoric would be the right word. They live in the muddy Fraser River, not far from where I grew up.
I saw only one, once, when I was nineteen. I was out in Mission, BC, sitting on a dock, minding my own business, feeding the ducks the crusts of a leftover samwich. It was a beautiful summer day...
Suddenly, the ducks swam out of the way, then flew off. There was a wake in the murky, still water making its way slowly toward me. So I watched.
Eventually the wake got close enough to the dock (and me) for me to see what was going on.
It was a large butt-ugly fish-face: the most improbable looking face, just under the water. And it was attached to a huge, long body that just sorta disappeared behind it. I have no idea how long it was, but it was long.
The fish swam lazily under the dock. I didn’t see it emerge out the other side, but perhaps it went deeper into the mud.
That was definitely something to see. Unforgettable.
Any wuss can ride a raft in the parts that ain’t vertical!!
I messed once in an inner tube against a cat 5 here in Washington.
After the third or fourth or twelfth time it turned me end over end, with no complimentary oxygen, my head came up and I’m still here.
Nice fish tale. Thanks!
I knew I was going to love this post: more photos of any kind, please!
> Were not talkin nice, American domesticated rivers here.
> Makes the Colorado look like a mud puddle!
The Fraser’s quite something going thru the West Coast mountain range, ay! And it gets squeezed thru a narrow gap called “Hell’s Gate” just before you get to Hope BC. There’s a gondola at Hell’s Gate that you can ride in, it crosses the Fraser and it’s really something to see!
Once the Fraser gets to Chilliwack it spreads out and slows right down. By Mission it is at a crawl, and by New Westminster you can just barely detect it moving. Then it breaks up into a delta known (sensibly) as the Fraser River Delta.
11 feet 4 inches of sturgeon
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