Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers Help Save Endangered Pallid Sturgeon

21.07.2010
Fisheries researchers at Tennessee Tech University found one piece of a scientific puzzle that just may help save an endangered species from extinction.

The pallid sturgeon is known as the “dinosaur” of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers and has been on the endangered species list since 1990. This primitive species has been around since the late Cretaceous period 70 million years ago when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Today, there are believed to be fewer than 10,000 left in the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to make a determination in September whether to invoke the “Similarity of Appearance” provision under the Endangered Species Act to protect the pallid sturgeon from incidental catch by commercial fishermen. Doing so will end commercial fishing for the more abundant shovelnose sturgeon in the Tennessee waters of the Mississippi River.

The shovelnose sturgeon fishery is a valuable one in Tennessee. Female shovelnose sturgeon are harvested for their eggs, which are processed for caviar. A pound of the pre-processed eggs wholesales for about $100, and an average mature female shovelnose sturgeon can produce about half a pound of eggs.

Scientists believe the endangered pallid sturgeon is no longer reproducing in its natural habitat in sustainable numbers because the rivers have been so altered by dams and channelization. TTU scientists have now proven that commercial fishing is having a direct and detrimental impact on the species as well.

“Biologists elsewhere were concerned because endangered pallid sturgeon was showing up in fish markets occasionally. Those same biologists began noticing that wherever you allow fishing for the common shovelnose sturgeon, you don’t see large, old pallid sturgeon,” said Phil Bettoli, a TTU biology professor and assistant unit leader for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Cooperative Fishery Research Unit based at Tech.

State wildlife officials asked Bettoli’s team to research the problem of incidental catch of pallid sturgeon. To do so, he and his graduate student accompanied commercial fishermen in Tennessee during the 2007 fishing season and documented several occasions where the endangered fish was being harvested in gill nets alongside the more plentiful shovelnose sturgeon. The incidental catch rate in the Mississippi River was about 2 percent, Bettoli said. The endangered species also was being captured and killed in “ghost nets” lost or left behind in the river.

“It turns out that unless it’s a big pallid sturgeon with its distinctive pale coloration, they’re really hard to tell apart from the shovelnose sturgeon,” he said. “We often had to take a tissue sample and send it to a genetics lab in order to positively identify them after the fact.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published its initial proposed rule announcement in the Federal Register Sept. 22, 2009, and the public comment period closed in February 2010. A determination whether to close the fishery is expected in late August or early September and should be published in the register by Sept. 22, 2010.

VIDEO: Bettoli interview footage available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Np3p959cZ0

Phil Bettoli | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.tntech.edu/

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Despite government claims, orangutan populations have not increased. Call for better monitoring
06.11.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Increasing frequency of ocean storms could alter kelp forest ecosystems
30.10.2018 | University of Virginia

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Purdue cancer identity technology makes it easier to find a tumor's 'address'

16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

Good preparation is half the digestion

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Microscope measures muscle weakness

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>