Sturgeon researchers seeking lost equipment

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- They are considered the dinosaurs of the Great Lakes, but most fishermen never even get to see a sturgeon.

“We’re really monitoring this population and learning.” said Dr. Dimitry Gorsky, of the US Fish & wildlife Service. who for the past four years has been studying sturgeon in Lake Erie.

Gorsky says these bottom dwelling fish are capable of living up to a hundred years and growing to eight feet long. They’ve been around almost as long as dinosaurs themselves. “But they managed to survive and they’re still here.”

His crew helped attach acoustic tags to dozens of sturgeon to find out where they go through telemetry. “You out these receivers out on the lake and the fish swim near it, kind of like EZ Pass, when it comes by it identifies the fish and lets you know it was there.”

What they’ve learned is that about four hundred sturgeon have been gathering right in the Buffalo Harbor every May to spawn in less than twenty feet of water. The only other population that big is near Detroit.

“The future looks really good for sturgeon.” said Gorsky “We’re trying to really understand if this population is gonna be stable and self sustaining. We don’t have enough information yet.”

Another way they’ve been gathering information is through these satellite markers that were attached to several sturgeon under water. They were scheduled to float to the surface last month, but only one has been found.

What Gorsky needs now is the public’s help finding three missing satellite trackers that could be just about anywhere on the shores of Lake Erie. If we recover these, we can get a lot more information from them and so if people out on the lake happen across one of these, there’s a sticker that identifies who to contact and give them a call or an email. We’re also really interested in where they come across it.”

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