Fishermen in British Columbia captured a massive white sturgeon that was over ten feet long and estimated to be at least 100 years old.
On Father’s Day, Steve Ecklund and Mark Boise were fishing with River Monster Adventures guides Nick McCabe and Tyler Speed in Lillooet, B.C., when they caught a massive fish.
It took two hours to wrangle the sturgeon into the boat, with videos showing the beast bursting out of the water, exposing its real size. White sturgeon are the biggest freshwater fish in North America, reaching lengths of up to 14 feet and weighing up to 1,500 pounds. White sturgeons, according to the Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society, can live for more than 150 years.
This sturgeon had not previously been tagged, prompting River Monster Adventures to believe that this was the first time it had been caught, which is unexpected given its age. The sturgeon was 10 feet and one inch long, with a girth of 57 inches, according to Ecklund.
“Our final fish of the day turns out to be the largest sturgeon captured in the company’s history!” he said on Facebook. “This beast would most likely weigh 700 pounds and be over 100 years old.” River Monster Adventures commented on the post, saying, “We are at a loss for words what a real dinosaur.” The guides scanned the river using sonar equipment to assist the fisherman in catching the greatest catch possible. The gargantuan fish was caught and photographed before being put back into the river, as has been the practice in British Columbia for the previous 25 years. Violations of this legislation may result in significant fines.
Despite the ability to produce up to three million eggs each spawn, sturgeons only spawn every few years, making it difficult for them to rebuild their numbers in the face of challenges.
Sturgeon numbers are declining in portions of British Columbia and elsewhere in its range, including California. California has periodically had five years of very low spawning population increase. Population declines may be caused by habitat degradation and the effects of decreasing food supply. Poaching of sturgeons is also an issue, as sturgeon eggs are actually caviar, which may sell on the illegal market for between $100 and $150 per pound.
The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada listed all white sturgeon populations in Canada as “endangered” in 2003, with the exception of the Lower Fraser River population, which is currently considered th.re.ate.ned.