At first, it came as a shock. Then it quickly turned into a happy discovery.
Researchers aboard a boat using a special sonar system on the Hudson River spotted a huge fish that turned out to be an Atlantic sturgeon more than 14 feet in length.
The discovery, which occurred last summer at Hyde Park in Dutchess County, is detailed in an article published this week by National Geographic.
"When I first saw it, I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’ ” John A. Madsen, a University Delaware geologist, who was accompanied by Dewayne A. Fox of Delaware State University, is quoted as saying in the story.
The two have used the sonar system in sturgeon habitat elsewhere along the Atlantic Coast.
Atlantic sturgeon, born in fresh water but who spend much of their lives in the ocean, are one of the largest and longest-lived anadromous fish in North America.
The sighting of the fish shows New York’s efforts to protect it more than two decades ago with a moratorium "are working," Erica Ringewald, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation spokesperson, told National Geographic.
Ringewald said that the state hopes to expand the sonar scans to the rest of the river, the report said.
Atlantic sturgeon in the Hudson River occasionally reach over 200 pounds in weight and six to eight feet in length, the DEC said, making last summer's discovery all the more noteworthy.
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