In a recent move to protect Sturgeon in Ontario’s lakes and waterways, the Provincial Government is restricting the harvest in both recreational and commercial fisheries. As of July 1, 2008, recreational anglers will no longer be allowed to keep any lake sturgeon they catch. The traditional use of lake sturgeon by Aboriginal peoples for subsistence and ceremonial purposes will not be affected. The Ministry will work with them to ensure the lake sturgeon populations can be managed sustainably.
The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources has shown evidence that over harvesting is a major factor in putting the species at risk, and is allowing only a catch and release.
The lake sturgeon is the largest and longest lived of any of Canada’s freshwater species, living more than 100 years, measuring 90-145 cm (3-5 ft.). Identifying characteristics are an underslung mouth, whiskers, and bony plates on sides.
These steps are being taken as harvest levels are projected to increase substantially across the province, partly due to the collapse of the Caspian Sea sturgeon fishery and the ongoing demand for sturgeon caviar fed by illegal sale.
Research: Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, AP News Service
Photo Credit: Terre Anderson