On May 27, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission issued a news release with the headline: “Be safe this weekend around Suwannee River sturgeon.” Apparently, Tina Fletcher wasn’t paying attention.
“She was riding on a 16-foot-long Freedom Craft air prop airboat when the fish jumped and hit her leg,” commission spokeswoman Karen Parker was quoted as saying in The Gainesville Sun.
Ms. Fletcher, who, unfortunately, was not carrying a video camera at the time, was left with a broken leg. Had Ms. Fletcher paid attention to the commission’s warning, which briefly described four similar “encounters” that took place in recent weeks, she might have been prepared to document the incident.
You’ll notice — and hopefully find it refreshing — that The Gainesville Sun’s Karen Voyles did not describe the incident as an “attack.”
Commission biologist Allen Martin was quoted in the May 27 news release as saying: “I have seen these encounters referred to as ‘attacks.’ 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. They aren’t targeting the boaters.”
I should point out, lest any mouth-breathing rednecks call for the mass execution of these fine creatures, that the Gulf sturgeon is a protected species.