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Sturgen egg collecting
 
 


Landing River Spawning Taking Operation

The idea for the school aquariums originated on the shore of the Landing River in the spring of 1994. Staff from the Nelson River Sturgeon Board and Manitoba Conservation were attempting to collect eggs from spawning sturgeon for the first time in recent history. Sturgeon run up the Landing River in early June and spawn in a shallow rapids near its mouth on the Nelson River. When conditions were right, almost two-hundred sturgeon spawn in the rapids at the same time. These large fish were so thick that it literally appeared as if you could walk across the river on their backs. In recent years this spawning run has been fished heavily by
domestic fishermen. The Nelson River
Sturgeon Co-Management Board was
formed because of concerns about what
would happen to this population and to try
to ensure that sturgeon were
conserved
for the future. Most of its efforts have
been directed at finding out how many
sturgeon were left and educating
fishermen on the importance of reducing
catches and especially, leaving the
sturgeon alone while they spawn. A
recent part of this conservation effort was an attempt to colle-
ct sturgeon eggs and incubate and rear
them in a hatchery. If successful, this
could provide an important tool for restoring
sturgeon populations in areas where they
have disappeared.

In 1994 there were only 15 sturgeon in the rapids at a time, down massively from the hundreds of previous years. The eggs from one of those fish produced over 1,200 sturgeon fingerlings (about 10 cm long), which were raised in the Grand Rapids Fish Hatchery. Most of them were released into the Nelson River at Sea Falls, near Norway House. This is an area which has very few sturgeon in it now, but once had large numbers. The remaining sturgeon were kept in the hatchery for the aquarium program. The aquarium program was intended to raise interest in these unusual fish. All of the schools involved worked hard to raise their sturgeon. Some died as we learned how to care for them, but many survived and by the end of that year we had learned enough to be able to prepare the instructions for raising sturgeon which everyone received this fall. If you are in Thompson should come and visit the Manitoba Conservation Office in the Provincial Building at 59 Elizabeth Drive.

In the spring of 1995, an attempt was made to collect eggs at the Landing River again. Unfortunately the entire spawning run consisted of only one female and four males. A small number of eggs were collected as she finished spawning, but there were not enough fry (only 24) for the school aquarium program. The decline in the number of sturgeon spawning in the Landing River over the past few years cannot be considered as anything in few years earlier has been reduced to a single female.

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