Caught on cam: Mounties rescue stranded sturgeon in Fraser River
A group of RCMP officers who set out to patrol the Fraser River last month instead found themselves entangled in a dramatic wildlife rescue mission.
The Mounties spotted an 8-foot, 300-pound sturgeon stranded in a pond of low water near Wahleach Road on Sept. 20.
"The officers quickly recognized the fish was in danger and could not survive in its environment," the force said in a statement Tuesday. "The RCMP immediately reached out to community partners and a plan was made for the safe capture and release of the stranded fish."
Mounties, biologists from the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, members of Lower Fraser River Guardians and a volunteer from the community returned to the scene early the next morning
The sturgeon was safety captured and released into a different part of the river.
Video posted to YouTube by the RCMP shows the team setting a net across the river to capture the fish, which is believed to be 75 years old.
They're then seen carefully loading the animal into a crate in the back of a pickup truck, after which the footage cuts to the release.
“All in a day’s work – just one of the things we do," Sgt. Gerry Hansom said in the release. "Strong community ties are important. The rescue was completed with the combined efforts of a number of resources pulling together."
According to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, white sturgeon is the largest and longest-living fresh-water fish species in North America.
They primarily inhabit the Fraser and Columbia river systems, but are also found elsewhere, including the Kootenay, Nechako, Bowron and Pitt rivers.
Sturgeon populations in the Nechako, Upper Fraser, Upper Columbia and Kootenay rivers are protected by the federal Species at Risk Act.