TIMMINS – Call it the Timmins version of Jurassic Park.
An ancient creature that once lived alongside the dinosaurs is slowly returning to the Mattagami River, an area where it once thrived.
A century ago, when settlers first set up shop in what became the Porcupine mining camp, lake sturgeon measuring up to six feet and living over 100 years were not uncommon in the area.
But due to increased industrial activity, overfishing and a general lack of knowledge on the subject, the once-thriving local population of the fish nearly disappeared.
Recently, lake sturgeon in the entire southern Hudson Bay drainage basin have been designated as a species of “special concern.”
In 2002, various local community and conservation groups concerned about the giant fish’s endangered status and apparent disappearance from the region put their minds together and started the Mattagami Sturgeon Restoration Project.