VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — A rare and prehistoric fish has washed up on Virginia Beach’s oceanfront. The Virginian-Pilot reports that the nearly five-foot long Atlantic sturgeon was found Saturday.
The slow-moving, armor-plated species sometimes falls victim to ship strikes. And the sturgeon’s head was nearly severed.
Atlantic sturgeon are protected under the Endangered Species Act. The species used to have vast populations along the Atlantic coast before it was decimated by a caviar rush in the late 1800s.
Marine biologist Noelle Mathies said that female Atlantic sturgeon lay eggs in the fall in the rivers of the Chesapeake Bay, and then migrate offshore. She added that it’s rare to find a sturgeon so quickly after it has died.