Efforts to restore lake sturgeon to New York waterways appear to be making headway with several successful reintroduction efforts.
"It’s really important. The sturgeon have been here for thousands of years and they went virtually extinct in the Genesee River about 50 to 100 years ago because of pollution and overfishing and now they deserve to be back," said Jeff Wyatt of the Seneca Park Zoo.
Recently, another 1,000 sturgeon were stocked in the Genesee River.
Wyatt said, "The Genesee River is their nursery. Lake Ontario is where they spend their adulthood and they come back to the river to spawn and that’s when they (females) turn around 15 to 20 years of age."
A similar sturgeon introduction was done 10 years ago.
"So we started out with 1,900 lake sturgeon in the Genesee River and now we think we have a population of 300 or so in the river and we believe the rest are out in the lake," Wyatt said. "Is the Genesee River healthier than it was 20 years ago? The answer is yes and our sturgeon are helping us answer that question. Not only because they are growing so well over the past 10 years and thriving and we know what they’re eating in the Genesee River. It’s a little fly larva that is doing very well in the bottom of the river."
Despite sturgeon re-introduction here and in other rivers, like the St. Lawrence, Salmon, Raquette and St. Regis, fishing for them is prohibited.
"If someone catches one by mistake, please let it go," Wyatt said. "We also have a special yellow tag with a phone number and a unique identifier so if anyone by accident catches one we’d love to have that information."