Re: NANFA-- dwarf sturgeon

Christopher Scharpf (
Sun, 15 Dec 2002 18:20:41 -0400

> I can think of a small mountain river that is recovering from years of abuse
> and would make a good transplant site.

Here are the American Fisheries Society's guidelines (paraphrased) for the
transplantation of fishes for conservation purposes:

1) Select a transplantation site
a) within the native range whenever possible;
b) in an authorized place, where
c) life-history requirements are fulfilled;
d) sufficient habitat can support a viable population;
e) potential for dispersal is restricted and/or acceptable;
f) possibilities of hybridizations are minimal or non-existent;
g) other rare or endemic taxa will not be adversely affected;
h) the population is protected and secure.

2) Conduct transplantation with an appropriate stock of:
a) sufficient numbers & character (genetics, size/age distribution, sex
ratio, etc.
b) known taxonomy & represented by sufficient voucher specimens; and
c) free of pathogens & disease;
d) subjects transported carefully & quickly; and
e) introduce under favorable conditions.

3) Follow with:
a) systematic monitoring;
b) restocking if necessary or warranted;
c) determination of causes of failures(s); and
d) thorough documentation of the entire program in peer-reviewed

So the first question to be answered about the possible "refuge stocking" of
Pseudoscaphirhynchus hermanni is, Will their life history requirements be
fulfilled? Not much is known about P. hermanni except that it's
potamodromous, i.e., spawning site is often just below major rapids or other
barrier to migration, while juveniles & adults forage in riverine reaches
downstream of the spawning site. Would a "small mountain river" be
sufficient for P. hermanni? (I don't know; I'm just exploring the issue.)

It may be possible (again, I don't know) that P. hermanni has ecological
requirements similar to the closely related Scaphirhynchus sturgeons of the
Mississipppi Basin. If so, would release of P. hermanni into the Mississippi
Basin adversely effect the native sturgeons?

I don't pretend to have all the answers here. I'm just summarizing some of
the factors that need to be considered before any "refuge stocking" takes

Finally, does P. hermanni still exist? Last I read is that 3 were caught in

Chris Scharpf
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