Saturday, March 01, 2008

Penobscot River Sturgeon

What a difference it makes when you actually look for two critically endangered species in a river instead of ... not looking for them.

This news release is wrong because it implies that the Atlantic sturgeon is not endangered. The shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) was declared an endangered species in 1973 when the U.S. Endangered Species Act was first passed into law. The Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrhynchus) was actually more endangered in 1973 because there was a large commercial fisheries for Atlantic sturgeon along the Eastern seaboard. The Atlantic sturgeon was not protected as endangered precisely because more of them were being killed every year than shortnose sturgeon. Go figure.

Today the Atlantic sturgeon is in much greater danger of extinction than the shortnose sturgeon precisely because the Atlantic sturgeon has not been protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act since 1973 and the shortnose sturgeon has.

Why should this be surprising?

If you don't protect them, they go extinct.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It also doesn't help that no distinction was made between shortnose and Atlantic sturgeon during the height of the fishery. So it is difficult to tell which species really was being exploited.