When is this day celebrated? March 9
What is the American Paddlefish? The American Paddlefish is a 300 million year old species of freshwater fish, which dates back even 50 million years, before dinosaurs existed. American Paddlefish populations have declined dramatically, primarily because of overfishing, habitat destruction, and pollution. Poaching has also been a contributing factor to their decline and will continue to be as long as the demand for caviar remains strong. The current range of American Paddlefish has been reduced to just the Mississippi and Missouri River tributaries and Mobile Bay drainage basin, when they once ranged in almost every river in the Central and Eastern United States and into Canada. They are currently found in only twenty-two states in the U.S., and those populations are now protected under state, federal and international laws.
Why was this day created? In Shreveport, Louisiana they were once common in Caddo lake, but had completely disappeared after the upstream dam was established which wiped them out. Through extensive habitat restoration and historic agreements with the Corps of Engineers, Caddo Lake is now prime habitat to restore the this prehistoric species, the paddlefish.
Who created this day? This day was founded by the Shreveport Aquarium in 2019. Shreveport Aquarium has been rearing this threatened species to release them to help repopulate Caddo Lake. An annual festival each March, the Paddlefish Festival, is held to bring awareness to this issue and help further their cause.
How should this day be celebrated or observed?
- Celebrate this cool, prehistoric species by visiting a local aquarium.
- Limit your plastic use as this pollutes local rivers, streams and oceans. Eat only sustainable fish.