A prehistoric-looking sturgeon has joined the Rainbow Trout in the fish tank at the Visitor Centre of the Fort St. James National Historic Site

A prehistoric-looking sturgeon has joined the Rainbow Trout in the fish tank at the Visitor Centre of the Fort St. James National Historic Site

There’s something in the water…

A sturgeon is now lurking in th water at the Fort St. James National Historic Site

Fort St. James National Historic Site, with the assistance of partners at Northern Divine Caviar from Sechelt, B.C., has acquired a small scale sturgeon for public display and education at the visitor centre.

The visitor centre building was renovated in 2011-2012 to include a new public display gallery entitled Strangers and Swan’s Down.

Nechako White Sturgeon are a unique and genetically dis-tinct endangered sub-species found in the waters of Stuart Lake and throughout the Nechako watershed. because the Nechako White Sturgeon is listed as endangered, this is not a native white sturgeon, but is a farmed sturgeon re-lated to those found in the lower Fraser River.

The juvenile has the clear and distinct features that all sturgeon possess- an ancient-appearing body form, sharp scutes along it’s body, whisker like barbels and the sharp snouts distinctive of all sturgeon.

A glimpse of this small sturgeon will give visitors a first hand opportunity to appreciate the uniqueness and importance of sturgeon and other aquatic residents of the Stuart Lake watershed.

Sturgeon have a long and important place in the history of the region as a food source for both First Nations and fur traders begin-ning in 1806 with the establishment of Fort St. James.

As both a welcome respite from a diet of dried salmon and as a large fish capable of feeding many, early Hudson Bay Company journals indicate that sturgeon were a regular part of the trade. Wild Nechako  sturgeon can no longer be taken for food because of their low populations in the river system. In short– every sturgeon counts!

Visit the website at www.nechakowhitesturgeon.org. Visit their website for information on getting involved and how you can help.