The following letter is in response to the June 12 Nugget article titled Dumped fish angers fisherman.
To the editor
As most of you are aware, the Lake Nipissing Stakeholders Association did not do restocking this year and the MNR will tell you that they did not stop us. Like most comments from the MNR these days, that is only a partial truth. They imposed new restrictions on egg harvest that made it impractical to run a successful jar hatchery. They are hoping we go away quietly and if the general public does not stand up and show enough interest to sign our petition, it may come to that. Ask yourself a few question, are you satisfied with the way Lake Nipissing has been managed in the past ten years? Will you be satisfied in the next ten years? The problem is growing, the fishery cannot recover as long as gill nets are used on this lake. The only way the Liberal Government will act is if we stand up together.
Those who care about Lake Nipissing need to ask the MNR how many six year old female Walleye were caught in the trap net at Wasi Falls this spring during their survey of the spawn. The recovery of the lake is dependent on these young fish that we, the recreational fishery, cannot keep anymore. So where are they? Why will the MNR not answer this question publicly?
For three years we have requested permission to increase our fry stocking from 2 million to 20 million and each year we have been turned down. If the MNR’s reason for not restocking was based on science, would it change three times? The MNR claims they do not believe in restocking, yet boast how they restock 1200 lakes in Ontario.
MNR`s first argument: The young walleye were growing too fast and being harvested before reaching sexual maturity.
LNSA`s response: A document from the Department of Natural Resources (DMNR) identifying that increased stocking will slow the growth rate of walleye based on competition for food and habitat. Problem solved, apparently not.
MNR`s second argument; the lake was too big.
LNSA`s response: A document identifying the successful restocking of the Red Lakes in Minnesota, a lake significantly larger than Lake Nipissing.
MNR`s third argument: Genetic dilution.
LNSA`s response: The LNSA asked a keynote speaker at an Aquaculture seminar if genetic dilution was a concern, he stated it was not even a consideration. We have asked the MNR to present a document showing any lake which the walleye population was negatively impacted by genetic dilution, we have received nothing. How do we defeat an argument that has never been proven?
We would like to thank Tony Aultman for having the courage to photograph this despicable act of waste. It’s unfortunate that so many people shy away from dealing with this issue – especially the provincial Liberal Government. We all know how desperate politicians are to improve the economy yet somehow this Government is blind to the relationship between a strong fishery and the amount of money it brings in from tourism. Our guests travel great distances to visit Lake Nipissing and they would be thrilled if they could have one, just one opportunity to enjoy a meal of fresh Walleye. As the MNR is well aware, it is increasingly difficult to catch any Walleye an angler can keep. One only has to look to see that boat traffic is way down this year and fewer anglers are making Lake Nipissing their fishing destination.