The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation recently released over 1,000 fish into the Genessee River towards Rochester, New York. At first glance you would think these "fish" were brown colored sharks. They also appear to have jagged backs, almost like a dinosaur.

Maybe that's just to the untrained eye, but what on earth did the DEC actually release into the water and why so many of them?

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation

The Lake Sturgeon

Often referred to as a living fossil, Lake Sturgeon's are one of the most ancient species found in New York State. There are actually three different species of sturgeon, that being Lake, Atlantic and Shortnose.

Though they are one of the oldest living species in the Northeast, they are also heavily at risk. The lake sturgeon is endangered in New York State, while both Atlantic and shortnose sturgeons are both endangered on the federal level. Good news for them, they are all protected in New York.

What caused their populations to diminish? The simple answer... humans. Sturgeons were almost completely wiped out in the late 1800's because of water pollution, dam construction and overfishing. But thanks to the DEC and their partners, all three have made a significant comeback.

Dan Rieck
Dan Rieck

On the Rebound

In order to keep the sturgeon population on upward curve, they will use their fish hatcheries to help them grow. There are 12 hatcheries all across the state, like the Oneida Fish Hatchery, that aid in this effort.

For fish like the Lake Sturgeon, the hatchery will wait until the species is around four-months old and six inches long. By this point, the fish will be of the right size and age to be able to successfully survive in the wild.

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