Lake sturgeon | Michigan Radio
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Lake sturgeon

Sturgeon for Tomorrow

If you've ever seen a lake sturgeon, you know that there's something really mystifying and beautiful about this ancient fish. They’ve been around for more than 100 million years, but their numbers have dwindled in the past century and they’re now considered a threatened species. But state officials and sturgeon enthusiasts are committed to helping the species bolster its numbers. 

a dead sturgeon on the beach of sleeping bear dunes national lakeshore on lake michigan
National Park Service

Dead lake sturgeon have been turning up along the shore of Lake Michigan. Seven sturgeon carcasses have been found since mid-July on beaches in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Vincent Cavalieri is a wildlife biologist with the National Park Service. He says to have this many dead sturgeon in such a short period of time is incredibly unusual.

sturgeon baby
Photo courtesy of USFS, Rob Elliott

Sturgeon are a long-grey, spiney, prehistoric fish that can live up to 100 years old.

But overfishing and habitat destruction has decimated their population across the state.

sturgeon baby
Photo courtesy of USFS, Rob Elliott

Juvenile lake sturgeon will be temporarily removed from the Muskegon River. To combat invasive sea lamprey, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service uses chemicals to kill young lamprey in rivers across Michigan.

Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering whether lake sturgeon should be listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

This comes after a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity.