In case you missed it...
Steven A. Ellis
Story reprinted from The (Cartersville, GA) Daily Tribune News, 12/12/02
Staff writer, Grant Sinclair, gsinclair_at_daily-tribune.com
Sturgeon back in Coosa River System
Fishermen in Bartow County may soon see a long-forgotten fish in the
The Georgia Wildlife Division reintroduced lake sturgeon into the
Coosa River system, specifically the Oostanaula River, after six years of
"We released a little over 1,100 6- to 8-inch fish in two different
locations on the Oostanaula," said WRD Fisheries Biologist Gary Beisser.
"We expect the fish to spread out through the entire Coosa system,
including the Etowah River."
The fish were released near Calhoun in Gordon County and Pinson in
Floyd County. The Oostanaula and Etowah rivers meet to form the Coosa River.
WRD, in cooperation with the University of Georgia, will monitor the
reintroduction of the fish over the next five years. Some of the fish, once
they grow larger, will be fitted with radio tags to track the movement of
the fish. All fish restocked are fitted with small, internal magnetic tags
so scientists can determine if a fish was stocked or reproduced from
"We chose the Oostanaula River because historically it was a major
spawning area fo the fish, " Beisser said. "Next year, we will begin
stocking the Etowah River as well. We want to stock as high upstream as we
can so the fish distribute themselves throughout the river system."
Lake sturgeon, often called "living fossils," are an ancient species
of fish dating back to the dinosaurs and is considered threatened in the
United States. The fish is found mainly in the Great Lakes, but until
around 1960, was found abundantly in the Coosa River system. Scientists
believe pollution and over-fishing were to blame for the disappearance of
the fish from most of its original range, according to WRD.
"I am really exited," said Mitch Lawson, coordinator of of the Coosa
River Basin Initiative. "I think it is great to see the state reintroducing
a threatened species into the river system. I hope the [Georgia
Environmental Protection Division] is serious about cleaning up our rivers.
I'd hate to see the fish die off and waste all that money."
The fish can grow up to 5 feet long and weigh as much as 100 pounds.
The fish has a slow reproduction rate, taking between 14 and 23 years to
mature and then reproducing every seven to nine years. The WRD believes the
fish will reproduce faster in warmer water like the Coosa River system than
its cold-water counterparts, much like other fish that inhabit both warm
and cold waters.
Lake sturgeon eggs are used in caviar and remain in high demand
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