OFAH wants Nipissing gill nets pulled

by Steve Galea | September 25, 2012

gill nets - sunset on lake nippising
Unregulated commercial gill netting has virtually destroyed Lake Nipissing’s walleye fishery and should be stopped, says the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH)

The federation is basing its recommendation on results of an independent review of the fishery, commissioned by the MNR.

It revealed few walleye three years or older in the lake, indicating big mature fish are facing unsustainable pressure. It also notes a clear difference between fishing mortality inf licted by recreational anglers and First Nation commercial gill netting, which has been three times greater than angler harvest since 2005.

Anglers have complied with increasing restrictions, including shorter seasons, lower limits, and a slot size since 1999, in an effort to stabilize walleye populations. Even so, recreational harvests are at an all time low. In that same timeframe, the Nipissing First Nation commercial fishery has never reported annual harvest data.

The OFAH contends the province has ignored MNR biologists who said there was cause for grave concern and has failed to implement a much needed regulated commercial walleye regime.

“Lake Nipissing, one of Ontario’s specially designated waters, has seen its walleye fisheries virtually collapse,” said OFAH Provincial Manager of Fish and Wildlife Services Dr. Terry Quinney. “The MNR has the authority and responsibility to manage our natural resources for the benefit of all Ontarians, and yet they have allowed overharvesting by commercial gill-net operations to continue unregulated for more than a decade. Until the provincial government suspends all commercial gill-net operations and implements enforceable regulations, their own data tells us that the Lake Nipissing walleye population will not begin to recover.”

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  1. Jerry Poling wrote: This well also hurt the anglers that have been fishing Nipissing for years, most well not return for a long time to come.The camp sights & lodges on & around Nipissing should be worrying. So there for , I well be looking for another lake Thanks