This spring, the partnership between the Mississauga #8 First Nation and the A/OFRC continued to grow as they worked side by side to conduct another successful Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) assessment monitoring the species population in traditionally fished waters. A total of 134 nets were set in the Mississagi River chutes (located 3.5 km upstream from the mouth of the river - see map) during the month of May resulting in 171 Lake Sturgeon being captured and released.
A total of 126 Lake Sturgeon were implanted with Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags, fixed with Floy tags, sexed, weighed, measured and genetically sampled. A positive addition to this year’s study included setting egg mats overnight. The egg mats were constructed with a fibrous/woven material fixed to a flat steel plate. This design was assembled to have the “sticky” Lake Sturgeon eggs adhere to the mats instead of settling onto the substrate. As a result, suspected Lake Sturgeon eggs have been collected and will be sent away for analysis to confirm species identification and spawning success.
The aforementioned fieldwork was carried out by A/OFRC Fisheries Technicians Tammy Desbiens and Sarah Couchie; with assistance from Fisheries Technician Interns Curtis Avery, Keith Nahwegabow and Jenna MacLaurin; and Mississauga #8 First Nation Band Member Carla Marcellus. Lake Sturgeon continues to remain a species of concern and still remains classified (as threatened) under the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Species at Risk list of Endangered or Threatened Species. A closed fishery remains in effect for lake Sturgeon. First Nations who utilize the fish for subsistence and ceremonial uses are still permitted to harvest freely.