UGA donates sturgeons to food bank, TN Aquarium - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UGA donates sturgeons to food bank, TN Aquarium

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The University of Georgia donated three live sturgeon to the Tennessee Aquarium to be used the river exhibit.

The fish were part of a study at UGA. One hundred California white sturgeon were used in a swimming study.

Once the study ended, 1900 pounds of the fish were donated to the Atlanta Community Food Bank, while three live fish were donated to the aquarium. They will be displayed in the River Giants exhibit.

Doug Peterson, an associate professor in the UGA Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, said making sure the fish went to good use after the project ended was a priority for both UGA researchers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Normally, the fish are disposed of in a landfill, but since the fish were only tested for their swimming ability, the quality of the meat was unaffected.

The fish were processed in Atlanta using strict FDA guidelines. The 1,900 pounds of live sturgeon yielded about 950 pounds of high-quality sturgeon fillets,and at $9.50 per pound, the total value of the donation is $9,025.

The Tennessee Aquarium will display the three remaining live sturgeon once they are big enough. Currently, they are only about 30 pounds each, said Jackson Andrews, aquarium director of husbandry and operations. The aquarium hopes to display them within a year in the 90,000-gallon tank in the River Giants exhibit, which features freshwater fish that grow to enormous proportions in the wild.

"White sturgeon are the largest freshwater fish in North America," he said. "UGA's donation will help our guests appreciate one of the remaining mega fish living in U.S. waters. Seeing them swimming next to arapaima and Australian freshwater stingrays will add another dimension to an already fascinating global collection."

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