MONTGOMERY — The state is suspending the commercial paddlefish season on the Alabama River to protect the species.
The long-nosed paddlefish is valuable because its eggs make good caviar. Internet sites offer paddlefish caviar for prices starting around $25 an ounce.
But a statement from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources says paddlefish mature slowly and are susceptible to overfishing. The agency says that danger combined with a lack of solid data on fish populations led to the action.
The state compiles commercial fishing reports, and it says an analysis showed some paddlefish harvesters were likely falsifying records to hide the fact that they're taking too many of the fish.
The statement says an investigation resulted in 135 convictions for paddlefish fishing violations during this year's season before the suspension.