Names are being sought for what has been the largest sturgeon captured by the Nechako White Sturgeon Conservation Centre in Vanderhoof.
The female weighing in at 335.9 pounds has since been released after being caught last month on the Nechako River.
“It was only 10 kilometres away from her original capture back in 2011,” said junior research and outreach technician Jordan Cranmer.
“She was estimated at 9.6 feet long, so it was really shocking to see her come up to the side of the boat,” Cranmer added.
“The magnitude of what we were about to interact with was pretty shocking.”
The last record sturgeon pulled in by the centre was in 2007 in which a special stretcher had been made for a female clocking in at 320.9 pounds. While staff considered grabbing the stretcher for their latest find, Cranmer said she fit well into their gear by the time they got her onto the boat.
After examining her and determining she was sexually mature, the staff brought her back to the centre to spawn before she was recently released back into the river.
“She produced thousands of eggs,” Cranmer said, noting sturgeon can spawn up to 750,000 eggs.
“We spawned three fish last week, and she produced the majority of our eggs, which was amazing for just not the experiments that are taking place in the hatchery but as well as our rearing program.”
When sturgeon make their first contact with staff, they are implanted with a PIT tag or Passive Integrated Transponder. Each small tag containing a unique multi-digit code, is used to track movements, growth, and survival of individual sturgeon.
It was through this very tag staff were able to conclude the sturgeon which is believed to almost 100 years old, was no stranger and had been caught ten years ago.
“This is the first time since we’ve seen her,” Cranmer said.
“To see a fish that large already in our database is really great.”
The Nechako White Sturgeon Conservation Centre will be accepting names for their most giant sturgeon yet on their Facebook page until Thursday, June 10. The randomly drawn winner will be awarded a sturgeon stuffy.
A total of 200 two-year-old juvenile sturgeon will be released into the Nechako watershed later this month.