Wildlife officers responded and used the license plate number to head to the suspect’s home in Tracy. Not long afterward, the suspect pulled up to his home with officers waiting. Authorities say the officers found the sturgeon stuffed into the back of his SUV.
Realizing the sturgeon was still alive, they jumped at the chance to save it. They photographed it, issued a citation to the alleged poacher, and raced back to a boat ramp to get it in the water.
Authorities said it took about 90 minutes to revive the fish, but they were able to successfully release it.
The investigation is reportedly still pending.
Here’s what California Department of Fish and Wildlife said about green sturgeon:
The primary spawning habitats of Green Sturgeon are confined to short reaches of a small number of rivers, so the species is vulnerable to habitat loss and climate change that might degrade or destroy those sites. In particular, most of the reproduction of the sDPS takes place in a small segment of the Sacramento River, which led to the DPS being listed as Threatened under the Federal Endangered Species Act. Temperature has a major impact on Green Sturgeon growth and development and early life stages are very sensitive to temperature, particularly eggs and larvae. These stages grow optimally at around 15°C and exhibiting reduced growth, deformities, or death at temperatures lower than 11°C and higher than 20°C. Other factors that threaten Green Sturgeon include entrainment of early life stages into water diversions, contaminants from pollution and terrestrial runoff, and poaching and illegal fishing.
Conservation and management
Southern DPS Green Sturgeon are protected as a Threatened species under the Federal Endangered Species Act, so no take of any kind is permitted. Take is defined as “harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct.” CDFW regulations also prohibit take or possession Green Sturgeon anywhere in California, regardless of DPS, with the exception of a small, well-regulated, tribal fishery for northern DPS fish on the Klamath River. In all other cases, fish hooked accidentally may not be removed from the water and must be released unharmed immediately. Green Sturgeon captured accidentally in the White Sturgeon recreational fishery must be released and reported on the Sturgeon Fishing Report Card. All sturgeon fishing is prohibited in the Sacramento River from the Highway 162 bridge to Keswick Dam in order to protect Green Sturgeon at the primary spawning grounds.