Lake Sturgeon Release at the Toledo Zoo

September 24, 2019

TOLEDO, Ohio — On Saturday, October 5, 2019 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Toledo Zoo and its partner organizations will hold the second annual lake sturgeon release into the Maumee River! The Maumee River Sturgeon Recovery Group* invites the public to the City of Toledo Boat Launch (near Walbridge Park) to participate in this unique conservation effort!

Lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) are currently one of the most threatened species in the Great Lakes. The oldest and largest fish in the Great Lakes, lake sturgeon have a life span of 50 to 150 years, can grow to be more than six feet long and weigh up to 200 lbs.

In 2016, the Zoo received grants to construct a modular facility near the Maumee River to hatch and rear the fish, the first of its kind in the state. In the facility, the Zoo has reared 1,300 lake sturgeon from eggs collected in U.S. and Canadian waters earlier this year. Additional fish will be released from the USFWS National Fish Hatchery in Genoa, WI, bringing the total number released to nearly 3,000. The fish are about six months old and about seven inches long. After release, fisheries biologists with the ONDR Division of Wildlife, GLATOS and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will monitor the population. The goal is to rear the fish in Maumee River water from a young age and capitalize on the homing ability of the species in hopes that they will return to the waterway to spawn at adulthood in approximately 15 years.

The community may sponsor a lake sturgeon to be released at the free and open-to-the-public event on Oct. 5. Each fish will be marked with a unique microchip and if the sponsored sturgeon is ever recovered as part of the on-going monitoring efforts, Zoo staff will notify the sponsor! Advance sponsorships start at just $25 and are available online at Sponsorships at the release event are $30. All sponsors are welcome to release a fish at the event! In addition to the release, there will also be a press conference at 10 a.m. and information and activity tables from the partner organizations set up from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. for guests to enjoy.

*The Maumee River Sturgeon Recovery Group consists of Ohio Department of Natural Resources- Division of Wildlife, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Purdy Fisheries Ltd., Toledo Zoo & Aquarium, The University of Toledo, University of Windsor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and GLATOS.


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