Walleye project gets nod from province

MANITOULIN—The United Fish and Game Clubs of Manitoulin (UFGCM) and Gore Bay Fish and Game Club (GBFGC) walleye cage culture program will take place again this year, after the clubs received permission from both the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) and the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR).

“Liza VanderMeer, who was representing the MOE along with Steve Moggy at a meeting we had (which included representatives of both fish and game clubs, Mike Meeker, fisheries scientist Jan Lindqvist, Wayne Selinger and Brian Riche of the MNR, along with Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha), agreed to give us a permit to run our program again this year, right away,” said Jim Sloss, chair of the UFGCM.

“Jan is going to prepare more of the paper work necessary to be acceptable to both ministries and focus on heavily dissolved oxygen content and phosphorous levels in the lake (Kagawong) around the cages,” said Mr. Sloss. “She was able to answer all the questions the MOE reps had and was very helpful.”

“We will get our nets, and eggs within a week and get started,” said Mr. Sloss, who pointed out 1,000 walleye will be put in the cages on Lake Kagawong and 9,000 will be raised in the hatchery in Kagawong until the fish are big enough to be moved to the nets on Lake Kagawong.

The clubs will be allowed to have two cage culture nets set up, with 5,000 fish to be raised in each until they are large enough to be stocked.

“The meeting went very well,” said Mr. Mantha. “We are very happy the walleye cage culture program will be up and running very shortly.”

As has been reported previously, Mr. Mantha had contacted the Minister of Environment, Jim Bradley, in an attempt to get final approval for the walleye cage culture program. He explained that as the studies done so far have shown, and the clubs have indicated, there are no signs of poor water quality on the lake associated the project.

Mr. Mantha said the MOE had raised concerns that with any further development on the lake this project could pose a problem with water quality, but there are no applications for further development, like housing, and the club’s focus is rehabilitating the lake with pickerel.

“We are very pleased with the meeting that took place last week, and it is nice to see the good working relationship we have developed with the MOE and MNR,” continued Mr. Sloss. “We are very pleased with the meeting and the response we received from the ministry. Ian Anderson did a very good job in his presentation he made at the meeting and Michael Mantha spoke up on our behalf two or three times, which was quite helpful.”

“It was a good meeting and shows what a good team of people from the various groups can accomplish if people work together,” added Mr. Sloss.

Mr. Sloss noted that Al Clarke and other members of the UFGCM have been working on the Kagawong hatchery to get it ready to raise fish with plumbing and other work, and everything is expected to be in place by this Friday. “We are expecting to get the eggs by this Monday or Tuesday from the MNR,” he said, pointing out, “We need volunteers. On Friday we want to move the cages for the Long Bay Lodge into Long Bay. We need help from someone who has a backhoe loader, chains, ropes and manpower.”

“Our time line is very short but we will have everything in place in the next few days,” concluded Mr. Sloss.

Tom Sasvari