All About the Mighty Sturgeons! 3/12/20 - 7 pm
The reintroduction of the dinosaur-era lake sturgeon into the Maumee River will be the topic at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Lake Erie Waterkeeper meeting in downtown Toledo.
Brian Schmidt, fish biologist at the Sandusky Fisheries Research Station, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, will discuss the history and impact of this creature that can weigh up to 200 pounds and live to be well over 50 years. Tagged sturgeon, four-to-seven-inches long, were released near the Toledo Zoo in 2019 and 2018. It's believed they will swim to Lake Erie and when they mature, return to the river to spawn.
Before the 1800s, the fish were prolific but their populations were decimated by polluted water, habitat loss, and commercial fishing, said Mr. Schmidt. A desirable caviar was made from their eggs, their oil was used in lamps, and their meat was often smoked and eaten. A handful of "remnant" populations remain from which eggs are collected and fertilized for reintroduction efforts, he added, and fishing and spearing are permitted in a few areas where populations are stable.
Sturgeon won't prey on potentially invasive Asian carp but will, along with other native species, help stabilize the ecosystem, he said.
The Lake Erie Waterkeeper meeting, during which the health of and changes to the lake are discussed, begins at 6:30 p.m. at Packo's on the Park, 7 S. Superior St. The meeting will continue after Mr. Schmidt's 7 p.m. talk. Information at lakeeriewaterkeeper.org.
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