The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) is conducting the provincial bait policy review to determine how the ecological risks associated with the movement and use of bait (i.e., baitfish and leeches) can be minimized to help maintain healthy fisheries and aquatic ecosystems, while reducing the complexity of current management regimes and providing business certainty to the bait industry. ORA made submissions on two EBR postings.
Ontario’s fisheries contribute substantially to Ontario’s economy, with recreational and commercial fishing valued at more than $2.5 billion annually:
- 41,000 person years of employment.
- More than 1.2 million residents and non-resident anglers, contributing $2.2 billion annually to the Ontario economy.
- A driving force for Ontario’s tourism industry and a key economic component in many communities, particularly in Northern Ontario, with 1600 licensed tourist operators generating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues annually.
- More than 500 active commercial fishing licences, contributing more than $230 million dollars to the Ontario economy.
- 1200 commercial bait fishing licences are issued annually, with $17 million in direct sales of live bait.
ORA offers our support on the proposal to enact an Invasive Species Act (Bill 167), and to emphasize the importance of a proactive approach to minimize the possibility of intentional and unintentional introductions of alien and invasive species, and of mitigating the effects of species that have already been introduced.
For the Invasive Species Act to be effective, it is important that this legislation is accompanied by invasive species policies and implementation plans, along with collaboration between the Ontario government, ministries, agencies, municipalities and federal authorities, along with adequate funding, staff and required resources that are dedicated to the successful application of the policies and action plans. It is crucial that invasive species policy be incorporated into all decision-making processes throughout all pertinent government agencies in order to protect the economic, social and ecological integrity within all of Canada. Continue reading
On February 25, 2013, Ontario’s Minister of the Environment, Jim Bradley, re-introduced the Great Lakes Protection Act, the government’s first major step in implementing its Great Lakes Strategy released in December 2012. Given the central role that the Great Lakes play in the lives of the majority of Ontarians, it is expected that the Great Lakes Strategy and proposed Act will play a significant role in the province’s regulatory framework.
Background: Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy (December 2012)
Amidst growing concerns about the effects of population growth, new chemicals of concern, invasive species, climate change, and other new challenges facing Ontario’s critically-important Great Lakes, the Government of Ontario began pursuing a “Great Lakes Strategy” in 2009 with the release of a discussion paper entitled “Healthy Lakes, Strong Ontario.” In June 2012, Ontario issued a draft version of the Great Lakes Strategy and engaged scientific experts and community stakeholders – including First Nations and Métis communities – in a series of public consultations. This process culminated in the Ontario Great Lakes Strategy report (GLS), released in December 2012.
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Eurasian Watermilfoil ( Myriophyllum spicatum )
Eurasian Watermilfoil is an aggressive submerged aquatic plant native to Europe, Asia and North Africa that has become one of the most widely distributed non-native aquatic plant species in North America. For detailed information you can go to Invading Species.com.
There are several methods of controlling this plant, however, one that has been finding success and has no negative impacts involves using a little bug which is native to our Ontario waters – the Milfoil Weevil.
Below is an excellent interview which explains the program.
Stephen Butcher, Greater Sudbury Watershed Alliance (GSWA), was interviewed on May 6, 2011, on Morning North, CBC Radio, in Sudbury. This is an excellent interview and talks about a Milfoil Abatement Program, using a native species of weevils, which was approved by Sudbury City Council to begin this summer. Enviro Science will begin the program this year.
Click on “listen” for an excellent brief explanation of this project at the Morning North website.