On our last day in British Columbia last week a few of us from the Deep Trekker team had the opportunity to tour the aquaculture department at the Vancouver Island University. We had the chance to see a number of tropical species along with species that are native to Canada. We saw their facilities including their hatchery tanks, aquaponics centre and laboratory but the highlight of the tour was by far the opportunity to see their sturgeon facilities.
The University’s International Centre for Sturgeon Studies has thousands of sturgeon living in their facilities; all at different points of development. We observed the spawning area, the one-year olds, 2-year olds and the full grown, 8 feet long parents. Before visiting the university I had very little knowledge regarding sturgeon but as we continued to listen and learn about the species I began to realize how useful and downright cool they are. For those of you who don’t know very much about this awesome fish, I’ve compiled a list of a few interesting facts about sturgeon.
- Sturgeon are one of the oldest species of fish in our lakes and oceans
- Sturgeon can live for hundreds of years
- Sturgeon can grow to be HUGE- I was told that the largest sturgeon to date was approximately twenty feet long
- They only have teeth for the first 6 months or year of their life
- Sturgeon are the species of fish that produce the delicacy caviar
- They are one of the few species that grow both in salt water and fresh water
- Species of sturgeon can be found in waters all around the world- from Eurasia to North America
- Sturgeon can be used for aquaponics which can be most easily explained as “the marriage of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (the soil-less growing of plants) that grows fish and plants together in one integrated system” (click here to learn more about aquaponics)
- They are bottom feeders and thus cannot be farmed using cages or nets
- Their skeletons are almost entirely made up of cartilage and extremely strong
- There are over 20 different sturgeon species in the world
From aquaponics, to producing caviar, to providing healthy amounts of protein, sturgeon are an essential species in the world of aquaculture, research and for our lakes and oceans’ ecosystems. This list has tried to outline some of the coolest most interesting facts about sturgeon, but there are so many more that we encourage you to take the time to learn about. I only hope that I'll get the chance to see one these wondrous species through the eyes of a Deep Trekker ROV!