Skip to comments.Weirdest Paddlefish Story EVER
Posted on 03/13/2009 5:37:15 PM PDT by nickcarraway
By Nicholas Phillips in Science & TechnologyFriday, Mar. 13 2009 @ 10:28AMDo you know what the Show-Me state's official aquatic animal is?
Wrong. It's the paddlefish. And some pretty weird shit has gone down with Missouri's paddlefish this year, according to the Department of Conservation's press release issued Thursday.
www.sos.mo.gov/symbols This is a paddlefish. For starters, the state's Blind Poney Hatchery near Sweet Springs reported a freakishly huge crop of young paddlefish ready to be stocked in the Missouri lakes and streams, thanks to good weather and water temperature.
Normally when they raise these things, only about 15 to 20 percent survive the several months they must spend in special rearing ponds. This year, 40 percent survived, meaning over 260,000 paddlefish: record breaker!
So many survived, in fact, that they ran out of tags. Missouri is working on a project with the federal government and other states to track and study the paddlefish population in the Mississippi River basin. That project requires the Department of Conservation to tag every last paddlefish.
But this year, they came up 100,000 tags short. The folks at the hatchery searched nationally for more tags, to no avail.
Then things got "supernatural." U.S. fish and Wildlife Service Fish Biologist Joanne Grady came across dozens of old spools of coded wire tag. But she couldn't use these tags, because nobody could find records of which tag numbers had already been used (having multiple fish with the same tag numbers would screw up the whole project).
The one person who did know had died. He was Kim Graham, whom the press release called "a pioneering biologist." He had been a mentor to Grady at the fishery.
As Grady tells it, she was sitting at her desk late at night, "and I said aloud to myself and to Kim that I needed his help to solve the problem."
Sure enough, the next morning, a hand-written note was found in some files: Kim Graham had recorded how the old spools had been used and when. Victory!
Because paddlefish take about eight years to grow to keeper size, the influx won't affect this year's paddlefishing, which season starts Sunday.
About 88,000 paddlefish have been sent to the Lake of the Ozarks; 69,000 to the Missouri river; and 56,000 to Truman Lake. Table Rock Lake and the Black River also got them some.
Gonna get you some too?
Yet, another thing about Missouri I didn’t know.
I have heard lots of weird paddlefish stories, but this is defiantly the weirdest ever!
For crying out loud. Can’t these things make their own babies without fish farms?
Paddlefish and morels... I am making myself hungry.
Paddlefish? That's a paddling.
They are successfuly breeding? Tax them.
Native paddlefish caviar.
Said to be just as good, and much, much cheaper than the Caspian sturgeon variety.
These weird fish are one of my main reasons for not swimming in Missouri waters! YUCK, they freak me out!
That’s a paddlin
Almost got into trouble at my last employment using that picture along with captions of company ‘rules’.
(well worth it)
Having a sense of humor is illegal in the United States.
Are you kidding? They are soooooo ugly, they have to use two bags just to kiss :>)
But the most pressing question is:
Are they good eating?
Whoops, we must have been typing at the same time!
They can’t help themselves.
“Having a sense of humor is illegal in the United States.”
What humor? I meant it!
(flying low, clippin tree tops, they never see it coming and never learn) (Cheshire cat grinnin)
Give me a wild king salmon any day.
I’ve no idea what they are good for, but someone thinks they’re important enough to actually build fish farms for them. I wish someone would build a farm like that for me!
Paddlefish need specific water conditions to reproduce.
Dams, dredging and other human activities make it difficult for them.
What do you do with one of those, Shoot it and put it in the bottom of a hole you plan to plant a tree in?
Paddlefish are ancient fish, from the days of dinasaurs (sp).
My first encounter with one (I had a telephone call from someone to take a pic of massive ones caught below a dam/steam plant here in Tennessee) came while I was the outdoor page editor of a small daily newspaper many years ago.
I went out and took pics, published them on the outdoor page that week.
The guy had no idea what these were, and they were HUGE.
So, I researched it, and, turns out, they are endangered (or threatened) and their range is shrinking. They are native in all southern waters.
This guy snagged them, as they don’t bite like other fish. They are plankton eaters, and suck the plankton into their gills, unlike other fish, that eat other smaller fish. They don’t have teeth.
It is legal to snag them (with a creel limit) in certain places in Tennessee, and I am sure that is the case in most southern states.
There are areas where they are plentiful, and others where they are protected. They ranged widely in the old days, in rivers without dams.
In certain areas of Tennessee (where they are plentiful) they are LEGALLY harvested commercially, for their roe (eggs). Commercial anglers net these for the roe, which is sold on the international market to replace caviar.
There are few commercial anglers in Tennessee, or other southern states. But I can tell you the market for their roe is so profitable I spent YEARS covering TN Wildlife Commission meetings where hours would be spent listening to the few remaining commercial anglers arguing about excessive regulation on commercial fishing here.
Several lawsuits, private legislative acts, etc., have been filed over the harvest of this fish.
If you find a population of them you can use a big hook to snag them. Not my idea of fishing, but I do sympathize with the commercial anglers who are struggling to continue a business their families subsisted on for many generations.
I could say more, but I’ll just say the plan is to regulate these people out of business. And paddlefish are not as stressed as they are supposed to be in certain areas. It’s a recreational versus commercial angling issue, with a whole lot of other things thrown in, like the time/money spent on enforcement and the netting of these and how many other species can be netted (sportfish).
***Dams, dredging and other human activities make it difficult for them.***
Shoot, it would make it difficult for me, too.