August 27, 2009

New home sought for three very big fish

Canada's University of Manitoba is looking for a home for three endangered fish, seized from smugglers, that can grow to 13 feet and 100 pounds in a century.

The fish are young Black Russian sturgeons seized two years ago by the Canadian Wildlife Services from smugglers trying to sell them as aquarium fish, biological sciences Professor Terry Dick told the Winnipeg Free Press.

He said when his department got the sturgeon, they were about four inches long, but are now about three feet long and he'd like to see a large public aquarium provide them with a home as their tank's getting too small now.

A long commitment is required, as the sturgeon's wild lifespan of 50 years can be double that in captivity, he said.

A university spokesman said the three fish are almost domesticated, as they raise their heads to the surface of the tank to be petted, the newspaper said.

The fish are endangered due to over-harvesting in their native Europe and Asia for their eggs, or roe, which are sold as caviar, the report said.