The Anishinabek/Ontario Fisheries Resource Centre (A/OFRC) and Mississauga #8 First Nation have again worked in partnership to conduct a subsequent Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) assessment on the Mississagi River and Mississagi Chutes.
In July 2008, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources listed the Lake Sturgeon as a species at risk. Historically, Mississauga First Nation has fished for Lake Sturgeon for both subsistence and ceremonial purposes. Presently, a few individuals from the community fish for Lake Sturgeon during the spawn. Mississauga First Nation wanted to assess the Lake Sturgeon population in their traditionally fished waters. This project was approved for the 2010 field season, but due to bureaucratic delays, the field work was not completed at the appropriate time, so it was carried over to 2011.
Mississauga # 8 First Nation is located approximately 5 km west of Blind River. The First Nation encompasses approximately 162km² (40,000 acres) of land, and is home to the Mississagi River which runs through Iron Bridge, and the First Nation before finding its way into Lake Huron. The Mississaugi River’s watershed covers an area of approximately 5,994 km², and is one of several Lake Sturgeon spawning habitats.
Netting took place at the Mississagi River Chutes, located 3.5 km upstream from Lake Huron. This year Fisheries Technicians Sarah Couchie and Charles Hardy; as well as Fisheries Biologist Intern Jenna MacLaurin and Fisheries Biologist Kim Tremblay, ran the project from May 10th until June 2nd. A total of 154 Lake Sturgeon were caught, weighed, measured, genetically sampled, tagged and released. During the sample period of 23 days, the water temperature ranged from 8°C to 14.5°. A total of 111 overnight and two hour net sets were completed. Lake Sturgeon caught weighed between 4 - 38.5kg. Recapped Lake Sturgeon included seven from the Upper Great Lakes Management Unit (Ontario) and one from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.