Well it’s that time of year again! On May 23 Kathlina took our team of new interns down to Warm Spring National Fish Hatchery to pick up our baby sturgeon for the year, a little over 2,000 fish! These are juvenile Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens), a very special fish that used to be abundant in the Tennessee River. However, due to overfishing and habitat degradation they became extirpated from Tennessee in the 1960’s. With recent water quality improvements, TNACI has been part of a long term program dedicated to returning this fish to Tennessee waters.
|Kathlina and Carlos at Warm Springs National Fish Hatchery|
|Kathlina and two of our husbandry interns, Jessica and Stephen|
These babies are tiny now, approximately 2-3cm (0.8-1.2 inches). But the fish can grow to be 8 ft long and around 300 pounds! They are also incredibly long-lived, the oldest on record being 154 years old. Your grandchildren may encounter these baby fish in the future! Since the start of this project, around 100,000 Lake Sturgeon have been released into the Tennessee River.
The fish that we picked up today will be housed at our husbandry warehouse until they are approximately 6 months old. In the fall we will release them into the Tennessee or Cumberland River. Stay tuned over the summer to hear updates on our sturgeon nursery!