Friday, August 22, 2014

The Finest Caviar In the World, Right Out of the Wabash River

    Law enforcement officers from Indiana and Illinois have increased their enforcement efforts of domestic caviar regulations since the onset of the 2012-13 Wabash River shovelnose sturgeon season, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources said.

Conservation officers from both states have recently increased its enforcement of the commercial fishing industry, particularly in the commercial harvest of shovelnose sturgeon, a fish sought for its roe, or eggs. Thirteen Indiana and Illinois residents have been arrested, cited, or warned for commercial fishing violations in the last year, the DNR said, while equipment seizures include 35 commercial fishing nets, three trot lines, two wire fish traps, and one boat/motor.

Dowager Sturgeon Mermaid
All I have to say about that is before Jenny started researching and drawing mermaids you would find in bodies of water in the Midwest, I had no idea we had sturgeons, and that anyone was even interested in eating caviar that came out of the Wabash River. I had always pictured caviar coming from fish in the Arctic Circle, captured by Russian fisherman, and exported at great expense. Apparently what has happened is supply had dwindled in the Caspian Sea due to deregulation leading to overfishing, leaving Wabash and Mississippi River Shovelnose Sturgeon to be valued at as much as $320/LBS. One fish can produce up to one pound of roe. 

Commercial fishermen in both states are allowed to take shovelnose sturgeon with approved commercial fishing devices on the Wabash River, as long as they possess the required licenses, the DNR said.

Approved commercial fishing devices in either state include, but are not limited to, hoop nets, fyke nets, basket nets, and basket traps, or trap nets made of twine or cord. Gill nets are prohibited in both states for taking sturgeon.

I'd like to think of this Dowager Sturgeon mermaid, one of 18 in a series of mermaids by Illinois artist Jenny Mathews, as a protector of those waters. 

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