North being shortchanged in stocking policies

The government must be lobbied to provide the same plants as southern Ontario

To the Expositor:

It’s time that the people of Manitoulin and Northern Ontario demand that the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) and the Liberal government start to rebuild our fisheries.

We are treated like second class citizens when it comes to fish stocking. What we are getting from the Blue Jay Creek hatchery is nothing compared to southern Ontario.

Example: The pools of Lake Ontario get plants of over a million salmon a year not including the rainbow trout.

We in the North pay the same licence fees and taxes as they do, but get nothing.

Our municipal governments and the Manitoulin Tourism Association and Chamber of Commerce, camp owners, lodge owners, should get together and demand that the MNR should bring our lakes back to ‘80s and ‘90s fish stocking levels.

During the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s, South Bay got plants of 220,000 to 260,000 fish a year; now it’s 70,000. Lake Manitou gets $70,000. This is a joke.

Lake Manitou needs plants of 500,000 a year not 70,000.

Lowering limits and bringing in slot sizes does nothing to rebuild our fishery. It’s the MNR’s mandate to give us the best possible fishery.

We have seen 250,000 to 350,000 rainbow trout escape in the North Channel and Lake Wolsey and South Bay, creating a huge fishery for five years or more.

We need hundreds of thousands of salmon and rainbow planted along with huge plants of alewives for the next 10 to 12 years.

During the ‘90s you could count 100 to 220 boats fishing the south shore out of Providence Bay and South Bay and the North Channel. Now you might count four or five.

Fishermen and sportsmen are the tourists that are needed back here. People with trailers and fifth wheelers, boats and motors, who spend $200 to $300 a day, not the flower smelling bicycle riders who spend next to nothing and even get free passage on the ferry.

We need the people who spend money and the fishermen who spend money on lodging, gas, tackle and food.

We have a fish hatchery here on the Island that is only at about one quarter capacity. This hatchery could raise our salmon and rainbow trout. This hatchery is capable of putting out eight to 10 million fish a year. Why is it not doing it?

The Manitoulin has to work together to get our tourists back and fishermen are tourists that spend money.

We must channel our government to give us the same plants as southern Ontario.

Bob Lewis

South Bay