Sections

Fish tale: Endangered sea creatures join Coney’s New York Aquarium

Big fish, small pond: Five endangered Atlantic sturgeon have arrived at the New York Aquarium’s “Ocean Wonders: Sharks!” exhibit as part of a push to educate locals about the sea creatures that formerly populated the Empire State’s waterways.
Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:

Call them big fish in a small pond.

Five endangered ocean dwellers arrived at Coney Island’s New York Aquarium this month, just a short stretch of sand away from their historical home. The five- to six-foot-long Atlantic sturgeon were once so common in the Hudson River and waters upstate that people called them “Albany beef,” but so many wound up on dinner plates that the species neared extinction. Their presence in the aquatic zoo will help educate New Yorkers about the fish’s historical importance and efforts to keep them alive, according to the Aquarium’s director.

“In past centuries, the species was a big part of New York State’s regional trade in sturgeon meat and caviar,” said Jon Forrest Dohlin, who is also the vice president of the Wildlife Conservation Society, which works to preserve land and species across the globe . “Of course, things have changed, and conservationists in New York and elsewhere are now committed to saving this imperiled species.”

The sturgeons, which weigh more than 120 pounds each, now swim within the Aquarium’s “Ocean Wonders: Sharks!” exhibit, which is fashioned after their native habitat in the Hudson Canyon ecosystem, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society.

The slippery swimmers arrived in the People’s Playground from their previous home at the Cooperative Oxford Laboratory in Maryland, where they were part of a spawn-and-release program. A ban on capturing the beasts took effect in 1998, but the crackdown had little effect on their numbers, according to the conservation group, which notes Atlantic sturgeons have been on the endangered-species list since 2012 due to a combination of overfishing, habitat loss, and pollution.

The fish are sure to stand out from the sharks featured in the exhibit, thanks to their rows of bony plates, and tube-like mouths lined with feelers to detect prey at the bottom of the sea. The fish in the exhibit are the size of a small adult, but other members of the species can grow up to 14 feet long and weigh up to 800 pounds, according to the Conservation society.

The sturgeons arrived at the Aquarium at the same time the institution received a designation as a satellite research facility by the federal Fish and Wildlife Service, which will allow it to offer educational programming about other endangered fish that once called the Hudson home, reps for the society said.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@schnepsmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 10:04 am, February 14, 2019
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:


Reasonable discourse

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: