The Missouri River took on about 550 more endangered pallid sturgeon Wednesday, and hundreds more will be added later this summer as conservation officials work to bring the primitive fish's population back from near extinction.
The pallid sturgeon, which can measure up to 72 inches long and weigh nearly 100 pounds, has been on the federal endangered species list since 1990. Overfishing, damming and habitat loss caused the primitive fish’s population to decline to near extinction in the 1980s.
In the past few years, the pallid sturgeon population has increased, but only because of efforts such as Wednesday’s stocking of 500 fish near Kaw Point, said Paul Horner, a fisheries biologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation. The department has placed 6,000 pallid sturgeon into the river over three years, but "that's a drop in the bucket when compared to what should be going on out there in the river if it hadn’t been so altered,” Horner said.
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