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AWRI assists with threatened juvenile sturgeon

  • A lake sturgeon juvenile swims in a tank at the Annis Water Resources Institute in Muskegon.
  • Juvenile sturgeon swim in a tank at AWRI.

Posted on September 10, 2019

Grand Valley's Annis Water Resources Institute is currently taking care of four juvenile lake sturgeon while parts of the Muskegon River are treated with a pesticide to remove invasive sea lamprey.

Carl Ruetz, a professor and expert in fisheries biology, said AWRI is holding the fish in specialized tanks in the institute's field station in Muskegon while their habitat in the river is treated with pesticide, which could also harm the juvenile sturgeon. 

Lake sturgeon are a state threatened species, and commercial fishing is prohibited and sport fishing is closely regulated. Lake sturgeon can grow to be up to 200 pounds and nearly seven feet long, and can live long lives -- approximately 55 years for males and between 70 and 100 for females, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The fish were removed from the river prior to treatment, and will be returned on September 11. The effort to remove and save the sturgeon is being led by the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, who partnered with AWRI to temporarily care for the fish.