| Mar 26, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - March 26, 2009 New pan fish debate comingBy Jeff Green

Sometime over the next month, it’ll be time for the panfish to hit the fire again.

The fisheries management committee for the massive zone 18, which extends from Bancroft to Pembroke and south to Lake Ontario, will be presenting their report on two issues that sparked public debate a year ago: catch limits for two varieties of panfish that are popular with US-based anglers (pumpkinseed and bluegill) and the use of so-called gorge hooks.

The zone 18 committee includes conservationists, tourist operators, bait sellers, and others, and there are resource people from the Ministry of Natural Resources on it as well.

Its recommendations are due to be posted in the Ministry of Natural Resources website and the Ministry of the Environment site over the next week or two, and the date and location of public meetings will be announced as well.

The committee will tender their recommendations to the ministry in late May or June, and any new regulations will take effect for the 2010 fishing season.

Last year, a planned limit on panfish in the zone led to controversy among tourist operators that cater to US- based guests, who have traditionally taken panfish in large numbers, and the limit was rescinded.

The Fisheries Management Committee was formed after that and the panfish debate was their first order of business.

In February, Tay Valley Township passed a resolution asking that no new limits be imposed for at least two years, so research can be done into the state of the resource in zone 18 lakes, and a study into the impact of increased panfish populations on the success of Walleye spawning.

Look for information about the web posting and opportunities for electronic comment, as well as the locations of public meetings, within the next three weeks. 

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