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Lake sturgeon will not be put on the endangered species list

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Monday that it will keep lake sturgeon off the endangered species list.

The decision comes after the Wildlife Service found that rehabilitation efforts, such as fish stocking and habitat restoration, have contributed to the species’ success.

The push to place the species on the list generated backlash from both lawmakers and local conservation groups in recent months that left many worried about sturgeon spearing in the state.

Jay Woiderski, president of Sturgeon for Tomorrow, a group that works to protect sturgeon in northern Michigan, said the sturgeon spearing in the state will not change with the decision.

“It will just allow us to continue as we have been doing. But it is such a restricted season that we are not harming that population in any way,” he said. “We are putting way more fish back in these lakes than our coming out by the legal harvest.”

Woiderski said that while the move to place the species on the endangered list might have been helpful 25 years ago, it is no longer needed.

“There was probably a need for what they were trying to do now, but that was over 25 years ago,” he said. “Efforts have really brought populations back. Not to say that they're as healthy as they can be, but definitely going in the right direction.”

Woiderski said Sturgeon for Tomorrow will continue with their efforts to return the historic species to Michigan’s Lakes.

Renae is a newsroom intern covering northwest Lower Michigan for WCMU.
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