Sturgeon: The misunderstood fish?

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
2 May 2006, at 1:00am

FLORIDA - The sturgeon is one misunderstood fish, according to a University of Florida researcher studying the species. Misunderstood by boaters who get whacked by leaping sturgeon, like a woman who recently suffered facial and spinal fractures on the Suwannee River. Misunderstood by researchers who espouse competing theories about why sturgeon jump. Misunderstood even by officials charged with protecting the threatened species. After decades of study, UF researcher Frank Chapman says he understands sturgeon better than nearly anyone. But his plan to breed fish to restock the Suwannee and build a commercial industry elsewhere have been met with resistance. "The sturgeon is in trouble," he said, "and we better do something about it because the fish aren't going to do it themselves." The sturgeon is a holdover from the age of dinosaurs and looks the part. The fish is boneless except for hard plates lining its back. A vacuum-like tube extends below its snout to suck up food. The Gulf sturgeon that migrates to the Suwannee grows up to 8 feet long and 200 pounds. Some species, such as the beluga sturgeon in the Caspian Sea, grow up to 30 feet long and weigh 1,800 pounds. The eggs from those rare sturgeon can cost more than $100 an ounce. A couple pounds of meat can fetch a similar price. "It's the most valuable food there is in the world," Chapman said. Source: