Great Lakes fish go on display at Shedd Aquarium

June 11, 2013 3:32:02 PM PDT
The Shedd Aquarium is famous these days for sharks, dolphins and whales from around the world. But now a new exhibit opens and this show is all about the fish next door.

The Great Lakes make up 20 percent of the world's fresh water, so this is a natural -- the totally renovated At Home on the Great Lakes exhibit, which features over 60 species of creatures from just around the corner.

"It's a fantastic way to showcase what is in our own back yard here on the Great Lakes. Many people think it's brown and silver fish or a few raccoons or animals," said Roger Germann, executive V.P., Shedd Aquarium. "But there's a very robust diversity in the Great Lakes, and we're hoping people are inspired to care more about it."

Fish like bass, which we love to catch and serve, and trout we might catch near a deep woods campfire, and yes, even giant carp weighing more than 60 pounds. The invasive Asian carp conservationists are battling face to fin.

"The Asian carp are an important part of the Great Lakes story. Right now, there's a lot of efforts being made to keep them from coming into the Great Lakes," said KURT HETTIGER, senior aquarist, Shedd Aquarium, who added they were found in Humboldt Park. "They were caught by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources."

Carp, bass, trout, turtles, eels -- but the star of this show is the sturgeon, a prehistoric creature that goes back 200 million years. And the touchy-feely part of the exhibit: reach in and touch this fish that can live to a hundred years old and reach up to eight feet long. Make contact with something from the age of the dinosaurs.

"It feels slimy... It feels like gum," said one kid.

Sturgeon! Shunned because of their looks. Loved for their caviar.


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