Sturgeon, America’s forgotten dinosaurs, show signs of life

Sturgeon, America’s forgotten dinosaurs, show signs of life
Baby Sturgeon in the James River (Source: VCU Rice Rivers Center)

CHARLES CITY, Va. (AP) — Some American sturgeons are mounting a comeback from the edge of extinction.

The armor-plated, bottom-feeding fish swam with the dinosaurs. So many crowded U.S. waters, they were considered a nuisance. But their numbers crashed because of a caviar rush, pollution and dam construction.

Now, more are being spotted from the streams of Maine to the lakes of Michigan and Wisconsin to Florida's Suwannee River.

Scientists say fishing bans, stocking programs, cleaner water and dam removals are helping them recover.

But the U.S. sturgeon population remains a tiny fraction of what it once was. Regional populations vary widely. Some white sturgeon on the Pacific Coast are abundant enough to support recreational fishing, while Alabama sturgeon are so rare that none have been caught for years.

Environmentalists say more conservation efforts are needed.

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)