Sturgeon- guest post from Dr Jim Garvey



The Ugliest Fish in North America (Or Why the Rich People Are Out to Get Me)

If you happen to believe in that evolution tripe, then you must understand that we all come from fish.  I’m a disciple of Darwin, so tripe it is for me.  All the parts on our bodies – legs, arms, eyeballs, and spines – come from our fishy past.  I respect my elders.

Even if you don’t think evolution is real, you have to admit that fish are cool.

I’m lucky enough to play with fish and get paid for it.  I should be happy all the time.  But I’m not.

My favorite group of fish is the sturgeon.   About 27 species of sturgeon remain around the world.  All are being whacked by humanity, they are the most endangered group of fishes in the world.   Habitat loss and overfishing are the culprits.  I personally don’t get the allure of caviar, but eating the briny, fishy eggs that go pop in your mouth is something that wealthy people do.  Wealthy people’s taste buds must be different from mine.  This thirst for status puts a gold-plated target on the backs of sturgeon.  Apparently, the eggs aren’t ugly enough to stop them from being put in tiny tins with enormous price tags.

I recently did an interview with a regional newspaper.  When I read the column, I was dumbfounded.  The article called the sturgeon species I work with as one of the “ugliest fish in North America”.  Who wants to raise money for the ugliest fish?

I do.  Sturgeons are cool.  Come on, that mustache of theirs allows them to taste their environment.

Dr Jim Garvey (@fishysiu) is a Professor of Zoology living and teaching in Southern Illinois, USA.

He is developing a pregnancy test for endangered fish species to detect spawning sites and aid their conservation.  He is crowd funding some of his research.  You can pledge to back him here.


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