| May 29, 2008

Feature Article - May 22, 2008

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Feature Article - May 22, 2008 Ministry backs down over Panfish

It was late on Tuesday night (May 20) when Roxanne Darling of Nordlaw Lodge took a phone call from Donna Cansfield, the Ontario Minister of Natural Resources.

It was a call that Darling had been waiting for two weeks, after Cansfield had told her that possession limits for pan fish (yellow perch, crappie, rock bass, bullhead and sunfish) would be addressed within a few days.

Althoug the wait was longer than she had hoped, the result was gratifying. Darling’s family run lodge caters to American fishing enthusiasts on Bob’s Lake.

Cansfiedl told her that the possession limits have been eliminated throughout fisheries zone 18, which covers most of eastern Ontario. This mirrors the situation in zone 17, which covers the Peteborough area.

Official confirmation of order came out in a press release from the Ministry on Thursday morning, which said;

“Effective immediately, there are no catch and possession limits on sunfish and yellow perch in Fisheries Management Zone 18 in eastern Ontario.

“A Fisheries Advisory Council will be established for Zone 18 to provide the ministry with advice and recommendations on sunfish and perch management for implementation in 2010. Similar advice will be sought from the Zone 17 council on panfish management in the Kawartha Lakes area.”

“The tourism industry and our sport fishery in eastern Ontario make an important contribution to the local economy,” said Natural Resources Minister Donna Cansfield. “We’ll ensure those contributions continue, while managing our fisheries resources sustainably and giving more opportunities for public involvement in fisheries management decision-making.”

Roxanne Darling, who is a member of Tay Valley Township Council, with had been working with the Eastern Ontario Sportsman’s Association and MPP Randy Hillier on this issue, said “without the efforts of the association and Randy Hillier this would not have happened.”

She also said the Minister deserves credit for responding personally to this issue, to the point of contacting her directly on several occasions.

“This was a problem that was not of the Minster’s making,” Darling said, “the regulations were in place when she became the Minister. But she weighed out he situation and decided it was unfair, and she addressed it.”

Lodge owners throughout the region are contacting their American customers to inform them that they can fish for panfish this summer in the same way they have been for many years, in the hopes of luring them back to Ontario this season.

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