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Vanderhoof UNBC student earns fisheries scholarship

Siobhan Streigler Klassen dedicated to protecting white sturgeon of Nechako River
A juvenile Nechako white sturgeon, which is considered critically endangered under the federal Species at Risk Act.

UNBC geography student Siobhan Streigler Klassen has earned a $1,500 scholarship for her interest in studying the white sturgeon of the Nechako River.

Streigler Klassen has spent the past three summers working as an outreach and research assistant for the Nechako White Strugeon Conservation Centre in Vanderhoof.

“I have always loved the outdoors, and from a young age I have spent my time hiking, canoeing, swimming and of course, fishing with my family and friends,” says Striegler Klassen.

“My first summer at the Nechako White Sturgeon Conservation Centre I learned more about and gained such a deep passion for the Nechako White Sturgeon. I not only learned the facts about the sturgeon, but I also learned of their quirks. In those first two months, I essentially fell in love with the Nechako White Sturgeon.”

The native of Vanderhoof is among three B.C. students to receive the Freshwater Fishers of B.C award.

Nicole Ure of BCIT and Lauren Aghabozorgi of Selkirk College were also selected.

Klassen’s major field of study in her second year at UNBC is physical geography with a minor in environmental science. She plans to specialize in water and aquatic science.

Sturgeon are the largest freshwater fish in the world and some grow to 15-20 feet in length.

Their origins can be traced back to the dinosaur age of the Jurassic Period and the type that lives in the Nechako River is considered an endangered species.

The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC was created in 2003 as a not-for-profit organization, funded mainly from freshwater fishing licence revenues. In partnership with the Province, the society annually stocks six million trout, char and kokanee in 800 B.C. lakes. It also manages special hatchery programs for endangered species including white sturgeon, conducts fisheries research, education and conservation programs, and works to make angling more accessible to the public.