Feeds

Leaping sturgeon menace 'Swanee'

Florida boater victim count rises

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.