Moultrie Observer

Opinion

June 16, 2007

A legend waiting to be born

The folks in Rock Bluff, Fla., may not have realized it yet, but they have a moneymaker right there in their backyard.

Last weekend, a “leaping sturgeon” struck a woman and knocked her unconscious. According to Associated Press, this was the second such incident recently. This is the stuff legends, or tall tales, grow from. It happened on the scenic and historic Suwannee River which adds to the marketing potential.

Given that sturgeons look rather prehistoric, this thing could take on “Loch Ness” proportions if properly handled, except that these things really exist, unlike “Nessie”, “Bigfoot,” and the “Abominable Snowman.”

These particular sturgeons can grow to be eight feet long and weigh 200 pounds. They have scales that resemble armor plating. They are naturally fitted for drama.

Neither of the two victims of these sturgeon had life-threatening injuries, but that could be stretched a bit for effect. Let Hollywood play with it a while, and it could become a threat surpassed only by “Jaws.”

Towns in the northwestern U.S. make fortunes selling the “Bigfoot” story. Coffee mugs, T-shirts and other stuff hawk an imaginary link between man and beast. Big things that go bump in the night will sell.

Certainly anglers could be enticed into such a marketing venture involving the sturgeon. And I say that not knowing what the rules are for fishing for sturgeon. For all I know, they may be a protected species.

So I’m wondering if the chamber of commerce in Rock Bluff has even considered the potential. Other communities might have their own freakish events that could be parlayed into marketing schemes.

Just a few years ago, it was discovered that a large python had killed an alligator in the Everglades. Actually, the python died in the process as well, but they must have really muddied the water before the event was over. That incident has been well documented and has brought about much study from scientists who fear that if these pythons should breed in the wild in that tropical environment, the balance of nature would be drastically upset.

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