Jumping fish breaks boater's leg
The Gulf sturgeon migrates from saltwater to freshwater rivers to spawn.
June 1st, 2011
07:47 AM ET

Jumping fish breaks boater's leg

The sturgeon are jumping on Florida's Suwannee River and boaters beware.

A 60- to 75-pound sturgeon broke the leg of a 25-year-old woman when it jumped from the Suwanee on Sunday afternoon, the fifth time this year a jumping sturgeon has injured a boater, according to a report in The Gainesville Sun.

Tina Fletcher was a passenger on an airboat when the fish struck her, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials told the Sun. No one else was injured, according to the report.

Southwest Florida Online reports there have been four other incidents of sturgeon hitting boats and boaters this year, with two people suffering minor injuries.

The Gulf sturgeon can grow up to 9 feet long and weigh as much as 300 pounds, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The fish migrates from saltwater into freshwater rivers to spawn and spend the warm months, according to the agency.

But no one knows why they jump, Southwest Florida Online reports.

"I have seen these encounters referred to as 'attacks,' " Allen Martin, a regional freshwater fisheries biologist, told Southwest Florida Online. "However, these fish are in no way attacking when they jump. They are simply doing what they have been doing for millions of years: jumping."

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Filed under: Animals • Fish • Florida
soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. Lou Cypher

    Hee hee! We should all support the right to arm bears...and fish, and elk, and deer...

    June 1, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Holly

    Tarpon mate in the Peace River basin in Charlotte County FL. They do the same thing and usually a few people get an unexpected passenger on their boats each spring & summer. Lesson to be learned, don't paddle out to where the big fish are having a social and you won't get hurt.

    June 1, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |

      I so agree with you. We humans are arogant and are not mindful of our place in nature. We seem to feel as though we have a divine right to all areas and somehow the indigenous wildlife are infringing on our space. We destroy forests and build subdivisions and suddenly the deer, beeaver and coyotes, etc are out of place. We decide to cruise on a river and the fish that live there are out of place and while participating in their normal activities, they ar echaracterized as attacking humans. RIDICULOUS

      June 1, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Malcom June

    I think the reason this type of fish jumps out of the water is because it is adapting himself to the enviroment. in the future this fish will be able to live not only in water but also on land because it will be able to breath air. Am i right or not? or perhaps develop wings since jumps and at the same time flys. Am i wrong or not?

    July 2, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
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