by Constance Riggins
Steve Fox and Rob DeVries with
|These old photographs were sent to the
Altamaha Riverkeeper by Doug Denton from
Decatur, Georgia. He wanted to know if sturgeon
still existed as large as the ones pictured.
The photographs belonged to Denton's neighbor,
Walter Morgan. To trace down the background
on the photos, I talked with Mr.
Morgan who told me his grandfather, Judge
V.S. Morgan and a group of other men purchased
land in McIntosh County in the
1930's, located 18 miles upriver from Darien,
on the Altamaha River. They built a fishing
and hunting club and named it Fort
Barrington after the nearby historic fort, built
by the British in the 1750's.
These photos, taken July of 1955, picture
Walter Potts and Nell Phillips with V. S.
Morgan Jr. sitting.
Morgan said, the caretaker of the Fort Barrington Club,
Charlie O'Quinn, fished for sturgeon every summer. O'Quinn netted the
sturgeon, cut them into steaks, barreled them up, and shipped them to
New York for
50 cents a pound. That was an exorbitant amount of money during the time
of World War II. O'Quinn did not fool with the caviar. The sturgeon steaks
were also considered a delicacy. Morgon says " We had many family vacations
at the Fort Barrington Club on the river. We were always proud to pose
for pictures with the giant fish."
The question from Doug Denton "Do
sturgeons this big still exist?" and these photos
spurred the following article: The King of
Fishes, Sturgeon 2005. At the time, just
across the street from ARK's office,
University of Georgia students were netting
and tagging fish in the Darien River for the
largest study in Georgia on the sturgeon population.
|The Endangered Species Act was envisioned as
a law to protect species believed to be on the brink of extinction.
When the law was enacted, there were
109 species listed for protection. Today,
there are roughly 1,300 on the list, with
250 species considered as “
Candidates” for listing, and nearly
4,000 species designated as “Species of
Rubye Parr Morgan and
Herndon Morgan Sr.