Sicklefin work - May, 2018
The sicklefin redhorse is a rare fish found in the Little Tennessee and Hiwassee River systems in western Norther Carolina and north Georgia. Once considered for inclusion on the federal endangered species list, the fish has been the subject of intense conservation efforts for several years now as biologists rear it in captivity, gain a deeper understanding of its genetics, and learn more about its movement through river systems.

Each spring, sicklefin redhorse move upstream to mate, and biologists take advantage of this migration to tag animals with identifying tags like those used in pets; collect eggs, to be fertilized and reared in captivity for stocking back into the river; collect fin tissue for genetics research; and collect basic size and weight data on the fish. Fish are caught via one of two ways – stunned by an electroshocker, then swept up with a net; or caught in a fyke net, which channels the fish into an in-stream holding pen.

This spring’s work brought staff from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Duke Energy, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Tennessee Valley Authority, Conservation Fisheries, Inc., Young Harris College, Hiwassee River Watershed Coaltion, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Credit: G. Peeples/USFWS
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