| May 08, 2008

Feature Article - May 8, 2008

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Feature Article - May 8, 2008 Minister hints at Change to Panfish RegulationsBy Jeff Green

Tay Valley Councilor Roxanne Darling expected to hear from the office of Donna Cansfield, the Minister of Natural Resources, early this week on the prospects for a variance to newly-instituted possession limits on several species of fish that are known collectively as panfish.

The fish are not considered a popular game fish in Ontario, but Darling’s family runs a fishing lodge that caters to a U.S.-based clientele, and a portion of their customers like to take a large number of panfish home with them at the end of their stay.

Other lodge operators are in the same position, and through a newly-formed organisation called the Eastern Ontario Sportsmen’s Association and her municipal standing, Darling has been able to talk with Minister Cansfield about her concerns.

She told the News that at the end of last week the minister’s assistant told her she would hear by Monday whether the regulation would be varied in time for the upcoming tourist season, but Monday came and went and Roxanne Darling did not hear back.

On Tuesday morning, Daring called the minister’s assistant, Sarah Baker, and was told that the minister was waiting to have something definitive to say before calling back.

“I told Sarah Baker that I’d rather hear directly from the minister even if the issue is not yet resolved, and late on Tuesday afternoon I received a call from Minster Cansfield. She told me that she hasn’t given up on this, and that she has instructed her staff to come up with a fair and equitable solution for all. So, I’m cautiously optimistic. I really do think the minister is trying to do the right thing,” Darling told the News on Tuesday night.

A meeting took place on Tuesday night in Peterborough which might lead to the ultimate resolution of this matter.

Reportedly, officials from the minister’s office as well as MNR staff from the Peterborough office met with representatives from the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and members of the fisheries management committee for the Peterborough area to talk about panfish limits. The Peterborough area fisheries management zone, zone 17, is the only one in the province with no possession limits on panfish species.

According to Roxanne Darling, Minister Cansfield said the rules should be the same in zones 17 and 18. Zone 18 is a large zone that encompasses most of eastern Ontario including Frontenac, Lanark, and Lennox and Addington Counties.

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