The endangered fish are often sliced open and left to rot by poachers seeking to sell roe, used to make caviar and worth thousands on the black market.
With eggs for caviar that can make one fish worth as much as a Ferrari, authorities on both sides of the border are stepping up efforts to eliminate poaching of a threatened Great Lakes species: the sturgeon.
The unfertilized roe is illicitly harvested — often by slicing theprehistoric-looking creature open and leaving the carcass to rot — and sold on the international black market.
“One big sturgeon could be worth almost $200,000,” said Marc Gaden of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission in Ann Arbor, Mich., an hour’s drive west of Detroit.
He urges people out hiking along rivers and lakes to alert police if they see anyone acting furtively with fish.
“If you see something suspicious, say something. If you see caviar sold in a store and it doesn’t seem right, say something.”
The commission has partnered with Crime Stoppers in Canada and the United States to seek the public’s help in tipping off police and wildlife conservation officials to suspicious activity.