NANFA-- Pallid sturgeon problems in the UMR

Hoover, Jan J ERDC-EL-MS (
Thu, 24 May 2001 15:04:31 -0500

The US caviar industry generated > $198,000,000 last year, but Beluga
harvests are down 85% and illegal trade and smuggling are up. Caviar from
padddlefish retails for approx $20-40/oz, shovelnose sturgeon for $10-20/oz.
Ripe gonads account for 10-15% of a sturgeon's body weight, so a 3-4 pound
sturgeon is worth about $50-90. These prices are prompting commercial
fishermen to increase their efforts at catching sturgeon.

One commercial fisherman, encountered at the Wolf Island Side Channel by
biologists from Cape Girardeau, had several sturgeon in his boat that were
almost 4 ft TL. He apparently was confused about the differences between
lake and pallid sturgeon, and emphasized that he did not keep "rubbernose."
He viewed sturgeon as a resource and said "When I catch a lot of sturgeon, I
only keep the mommies and throw the daddies back." Biologists ID'd his
sturgeon as pallid hybrids.

Source: Two stories in the "The UMRCC Newsletter" for Spring 2001

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