Endangered shortnose sturgeon saved in Hudson River

Jan 31, 2007

For the first time in U.S., and probably global, history a fish identified as endangered has been shown to have recovered -- and in the Hudson River, which flows through one of the world's largest population centers, New York City.

The population of shortnose sturgeon, which lives in large rivers and estuaries along the Atlantic coast of North America, has increased by more than 400 percent in the Hudson River since the 1970s, report Mark Bain, associate professor of natural resources at Cornell, and his colleagues in the online publication PLoS ONE. However, the shortnose sturgeon is still endangered in other rivers, Bain said, and will not necessarily be removed from the endangered species list by the U.S. government.

In the past 100 years, 27 species of fish have been died out in North America and four have become extinct. The U.S. government currently protects 149 fish species and subspecies and a total of 1,311 species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

"Endangered and threatened U.S. fish outnumber mammals, reptiles, birds, etcetera," said Bain. Since 1966 when the federal government started identifying threatened species, only 16, including the American alligator, American peregrine falcon and brown pelican, have recovered. "Recovery is very rare," said Bain, who has been monitoring the shortnose sturgeon's population since the mid-1990s and has access to data on the populations since the 1970s.

"The nature of this species, its habitat and evidence for a large and secure population are an example of successful protected species management," said Bain. "Scientists and legislators have called for changes in the U.S. Endangered Species Act; the act is being debated in Congress and has been characterized as failing to recover species."

However, he said, recovery of the shortnose sturgeon suggests the combination of species and habitat protection with patience can successfully recover threatened species, even next to one of the busiest cities in the world.

The studyl appeared in the Jan. 24 edition of PLoS ONE, an international, peer-reviewed, open-access, online publication from the Public Library of Science.

Source: Cornell University News Service

Explore further: Deep sea fish eyesight similar to human vision

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Gift Guide: Lots of tablet choices, oh my!

1 hour ago

Time for a tablet? People tend to hold onto tablets longer than smartphones, so take time to weigh your options. A major consideration is what phone you or your gift recipient already has. Although it's possible ...

Recommended for you

How can we avoid kelp beds turning into barren grounds?

3 hours ago

Urchins are marine invertebrates that mould the biological richness of marine grounds. However, an excessive proliferation of urchins may also have severe ecological consequences on marine grounds as they ...

Genomes of malaria-carrying mosquitoes sequenced

18 hours ago

Nora Besansky, O'Hara Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Notre Dame and a member of the University's Eck Institute for Global Health, has led an international team of scientists in sequencing ...

Bitter food but good medicine from cucumber genetics

18 hours ago

High-tech genomics and traditional Chinese medicine come together as researchers identify the genes responsible for the intense bitter taste of wild cucumbers. Taming this bitterness made cucumber, pumpkin ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.