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FWC urges boaters to go slow and be alert for jumping sturgeon

Media contact: Ashley Williams, 386-872-0831 Release Date: 06-01-2023   All Articles Tags:

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Gulf sturgeons are in the Suwannee River and they are jumping. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is urging boaters on the Suwannee River to go slow and maintain 360-degree awareness for jumping sturgeon now through the end of summer. In past years, boaters have been injured by direct strikes with sturgeon. There is no warning; if a boater passes through when the fish is in the air, there is a chance of injury.

To stay safe around jumping sturgeons, follow these three safe boating practices:

  1. Go slow; allow more time for the vessel operator to react if a sturgeon jumps in front of you.
  2. Be alert and pay attention to your surroundings. This includes what a boater sees and hears.
  3. Always wear your life jacket. If you're knocked out of the boat, hurt and unconscious, a life jacket will help keep you afloat. 

Scientists have determined that sturgeon jump to communicate with other sturgeons and refill their swim bladder to maintain buoyancy. While sturgeons can jump anywhere in the river, the fish in the Suwannee are commonly observed jumping where they gather in "holding" areas. Holding areas are where they spawn, usually the deeper holes in the river. Major holding areas in the Suwannee occur above Jack's Sandbar; below Manatee Springs; between Fanning Springs and Usher Landing; below Old Town Trestle; below the confluence of the Santa Fe and Suwannee rivers; near Rock Bluff; and below Anderson Springs.

Gulf sturgeon are protected under state and federal laws and cannot be harvested. To report sturgeon collisions, call the Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922). For more information about Gulf Sturgeon, go to, click "species profiles" and then "Gulf Sturgeon."