Stanley Ferry catch is sturgeon on the ridiculous

Richard Marsh with a sturgeon which has been caught by anglers at Stanley Ferry,Wakefield
Richard Marsh with a sturgeon which has been caught by anglers at Stanley Ferry,Wakefield

A FISHY find in the canal has baffled anglers.

Geoff Marsh was pike fishing at Stanley Ferry when a 33-inch sturgeon - a breed of fish rarely seen in British fresh waters - floated towards him.

The shark-like creature appeared to have been injured or attacked by another fish.

Retired Mr Marsh, of Ferry Lane, said: “I caught this carp and was bringing it in when this sturgeon surfaced. I had no idea what it was at first - I thought it was a shark.

“It was on its way out, so I don’t know if a carp had got to it or if it had been hit by a boat.”

Some species of sturgeon have been known to grow up to 18 ft long.

Marine experts at Liverpool University examined a photograph of the find at Stanley Ferry and confirmed it was a species of sturgeon.

Senior lecturer Michael Berenbrink, from the University’s Institute of Integrative Biology, said sturgeons native to the UK were very rare and were never known to have bred in the British Isles.

He said: “The species lives the majority of its adult life in the sea and only migrates into large river systems for spawning.

“The offspring grows up in freshwater from which the juveniles then re-enter the sea. The only remaining breeding site still existing in Western Europe is in the Gironde River in France.”

However, two other breeds, the small sterlet sturgeon and much larger Siberian sturgeon, are available in garden centres and in the ornamental fish trade and are kept as garden pets, Dr Berenbrink added.

Mr Marsh said: “With all the rain and floods we’ve had recently, I wondered if it’s possible someone’s pond overflowed and it ended up in the canal.

“It makes you wonder what other things are lurking down there.”