Suzy Hall found this front page newspaper article about a sturgeon jumping into a boat. Such spectacular fish leaps have produced various myths.
There has only ever been one recorded human death from sturgeon on the Suwannee River: a five-year-old girl in 2015. That was tragic, and two other people in her boat were also injured. Nobody wants that to happen.
But the myth that many people have been killed by jumping sturgeon is not true.
What Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) recommends is:
“Go slow. Wear your life jacket. Stay off the bow of the boat.”
Which jibes with what I’ve heard: every sturgeon injury has been the result of power boats going too fast.
In a paddle boat, you’re automatically going slow. Sure, a jumping sturgeon could land on you in a kayak or canoe. But you’re probably more likely to be hit by lightning.
In the above screenshot I’ve only included from west of Live Oak downstream, because there weren’t any strikes recorded upstream from there.
This is even though the main spawning are of the Gulf Sturgeon are upstream fromthere. The farther downstream the more power boats, which could be related.
Also, remember Gulf sturgeon are a threatened species, so no fishing for them!
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
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