Atlantic Sturgeon Found Washed Up On Shore In Carolina (PHOTO)

A massive Atlantic Sturgeon washed ashore on to the north end of Carolina Beach earlier this week.

How an Atlantic Sturgeon found itself beached on the northern shores of Carolina Beach, a town in New Hanover County, North Carolina, is more rare than it seems as the ancient fish is on the endangered species list.

Atlantic sturgeons are threatened by commercial fishing and loss of habitat.

The rare fish are anadromous, meaning they spend most of their lives in salt water and travel into freshwater lakes and rivers to spawn in the spring.

Atlantic Sturgeons can live as long as 60 years, and can grow up to 2.7 metres in length and weigh more than 225 kilograms. The largest on record, caught in Canada, was more than 4 metres long and weighed a staggering 368 kilograms.

The most significant threats to the species are unintended catch of Atlantic sturgeon in some fisheries; dams that block access to spawning areas, poor water quality, which harms development of sturgeon larvae and juveniles; dredging of historical spawning areas; and vessel strikes. As a result, NOAA Fisheries determined that listing sturgeon under the Endangered Species Act is warranted.

In October 2009, NOAA received a petition to list Atlantic sturgeon as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. In January 2010, NOAAannounced the petition had merit and it would formally consider whether to list the species under the Endangered Species Act.

The St. John and the St. Lawrence rivers are the only known Atlantic sturgeon breeding grounds in Canada, but other populations exist along the east coast of the United States.

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