Feeds

Leaping sturgeon menace 'Swanee'

Florida boater victim count rises

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Boaters on Florida's Suwannee ("Swanee") river have come under increasing risk of leaping sturgeon attack during the last 18 months as low water levels continue to provoke serious collisions between the "armoured fish" and unwary humans, the Telegraph reports.

Florida police say that this year has been "particularly bloody", with five victims to date including 50-year-old Sharon Touchton who was piloting a jetski when she impacted with a sturgeon, suffering skull fractures under her eyes, losing a finger and a tooth and almost biting off her own tongue in the process.

The Gulf sturgeon in question, which can reach eight feet in length and boast "sharp, bony plates that can cut flesh like knives", are not aggressive by nature, scientists claim, but the boffins are unable to offer an explanation for their acrobatics.

The sturgeon menace has been compounded by the aforementioned low water levels as boats and fish have to share increasingly restricted patches of river. Sturgeon strikes were previously uncommon, but ten people were injured last year.

This 2007 tally of casualties so far includes the unfortunate Touchton, plus 32-year-old Tara Spears "knocked unconscious and taken to the hospital" following a piscine impact, and six-year-old Taylor Lane Owen who suffered a broken leg when a sturgeon jumped onto the boat he was sharing with 20-year-old Kelly Clafin.

Major Bruce Hamlin, regional commander for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's (FWC) North Central Region, told the local NewsHerald.com: "The documented strikes for 2006 resulted in the worst year on record, with eight people directly hit by sturgeon and two injured when they swerved to avoid a jumping fish and hit a bridge piling.

"However, the numbers for 2007 show a trend that could top 2006. At this point last year, there were three documented strikes, with three injuries. People need to be cautious when on the Suwannee. I cannot emphasize that enough."

Some boat owners have suggested the sturgeon, which in spring migrate from the Gulf of Mexico to the Suwannee to spawn, might be "removed" to contain the threat, but although they were once exploited for their caviar and meat, they are now a protected, endangered species. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
Brit amateur payload set to complete full circle around PLANET EARTH
Ultralight solar radio tracker in glorious 25,000km almost-space odyssey
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.