Technology Science - Rare sturgeon's spawning grounds sought

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Rare lake sturgeon in the Mattagami River near Timmins, Ont., are being surgically implanted with radio transmitters so wildlife conservationists can figure out where they spawn.

Fifty of the unusual fish were reintroduced to the river in 2002 after locals noticed that the species had disappeared from the region. Sturgeon can grow to be longer than a person is tall and live for more than 100 years.

Biologists believe that the fish were decimated by the effects of logging, pollution and hydro dams that interfered with their long migration routes.

"The sturgeon have been around since the time of the dinosaurs and we've basically pushed them out of their historic range," said Derrick Romain, a biologist with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.

Andy Chartrand, president of the Timmins Fur Council, has been involved with the sturgeon restoration project since the beginning.

He said the radio transmitters will help them figure out exactly how the fish are being affected by the dams and where they now migrate to lay their eggs.

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