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Saturday, September 18, 2021

‘Monster’ sturgeon hauled from Fraser River weighed more than 800 lbs., may be a century old

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VANCOUVER — An ancient fish caught in B.C.’s Fraser River recently is being described as an “extremely rare” catch.

A group guided by staff at the Fraser River Lodge managed to catch and reel in an 3.5-metre-long, or 11.5-foot-long, white sturgeon in an area near Agassiz.

A representative of the lodge told CTV News the fish measured 56 inches around, and weighed more than 800 pounds.

“Catches like this are extremely rare and always exciting to be a part of,” Kate Wisse said in an email Tuesday.

She said the fish had never been tagged before, so this may have been the first time it was caught. Its age is not known, but she estimated it could be more than 100 years old, given its size.

It took more than an hour to land the “monster sturgeon,” Wisse said, in part because the three that took turns had to manoeuver around bridge pillars and an island, all while the boat struck parts of sunken trees.

When the fish was finally brought in, it was measured, scanned, tagged and released. Guides from the lodge monitored the sturgeon, making sure it was ready for release, Wisse said.

According to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, white sturgeon are the largest freshwater fish in Canada, and they’ve existed relatively unchanged for millions of years.

In a critical state of decline in some parts of B.C., the bottom-feeding fish is among the wildlife protected under the Species at Risk Act. Species living in the Nechako River, Upper Columbia River, Upper Fraser River and Upper Kootenay River are all protected by the federal act. 

The Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society says white sturgeon can live well over 150 years, and can grow up to six metres in length.

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