In response to several boating accidents involving sturgeon this year, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is placing informational warning signs along the Suwannee River in order to raise awareness about sturgeon and boating safety. "With the recent strikes from jumping sturgeon injuring boaters on the Suwannee River, FWC has launched a public awareness campaign to alert boaters to the risk of the jumping fish. These signs advise boaters to be aware that the fish are out there and recommend going slow in vessels while on the river," Karen Parker said, a spokesperson for FWC.

On Friday, Aug. 25, at 3 p.m., the first sturgeon sign was placed near the boating ramp at Rock Bluff located on CR 340 in Gilchrist County. Those present at the installation ceremony were law enforcement officials and biologists as well as news media from Dixie County, Gainesville, and Lake City. According to Parker, the signs will be placed at approximately 100 private and public boat ramps, from the Gulf of Mexico to somewhere around the Stephen Foster Memorial.

More than one individual was involved in putting this public awareness campaign together. "Members of the North Central Region, led by Maj. Bruce Hamlin, came up with the design for the sign. I worked on the design with members of our headquarters and came up with the final design," Parker said.

There have been a total of seven boating accidents involving sturgeon since the beginning of this year, according to the most recent update from FWC.

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