Temagami Stewardship Council


To preserve, protect, restore and improve, the natural resources and environment of Lake Temagami & Cross Lake !
Fisheries News

Report on NOTO Conference – Nov. 2nd, 2005

As chairman of the Temagami Stewardship Council, I was invited to the 78th Annual Nature & Outdoor Tourism Industry Conference held in Sault Ste. Marie on Nov. 2nd – 5th, 2005 to speak about the concept of Stewardship and how the Temagami Stewardship Council had evolved.

As a cottager, being invited to the NOTO (Northern Ontario Tourist Operators) conference, I was impressed with the overall attitude of the conference and participants. These were the lodge owners and camp operators from throughout Northern Ontario and their expressed concern was to provide quality fishing for their clientele. As the organizer, Jerry Fischer, stated early in the day, their clients want to be able to catch fish, not necessarily keep them. I was also impressed with the presentations of “Good News Stories” where private individuals and members of NOTO had given of their own time and finances to conduct initiatives to look after/improve the quality of the resource in the North. These actions all resemble the concept of stewardship.

The 4-day NOTO conference began on Nov. 2nd with an all day “Fisheries Symposium” organized by Jerry Fisher, owner/operator of Grassy Narrows Lodge. Jerry welcomed everyone to the “Fisheries Symposium” with recognition that as angling pressure increases there will be a reduction in fish stocks therefore management practices need to improve. He urged the members to talk to their guests about current conservation issues such as no export of the resource. “We can sell catching – not killing,” said Jerry before introducing the keynote speaker, Dr. George Morgan, a biologist from Laurentian University.

Dr. George Morgan of Laurentian University is renowned for his work in studying the fisheries of Ontario. In his presentation, ”Managing to Ensure the Sustainable Harvest Into the Future”, Dr. Morgan jokingly stated that if you want to manage to have lots of fish then the quickest fix is to stop fishing and if that is not an option then there must be correct management practices implemented. He went on to explain how the resource has been studied, the details of what the research has shown and possible management initiatives that could be put in place to ensure sustainability.

Dave Maraldo, of the Fisheries Section of MNR, Peterborough, presented the “Ecological Framework for Recreational Fisheries for Ontario”. The goal of this new framework is to provide less complex, easier to understand regulations. Dave explained that input to the regulations themselves is still being gathered in the form of tool kits. The members gathered expressed their concern that there had not been enough local input in the process.

In the afternoon there were a number of “good news” stories from across Northern Ontario shared with the group. The stories by Roger Henegar, former owner of Cedar Lake Lodge on the Cedar River Watershed; Gary Beardsley, Lac Seul Evergreen Lodge; Geoff Gillon, former owner of Bear Pass Trading Post Ltd.; all shared the common theme of individuals giving of their time, efforts and finances to do the best for the resource. Tom Mosindy, LOW Assessment, MNR, talked about using an Angler’s Journal to track the Muskie populations on Lake of the Woods and Dr. George Morgan spoke on the successful Rehabilitation of the Walleye population in the French River by using a slot size regulation as a management tool.

In my presentation on the Temagami Stewardship Council, I explained how the user groups of the resource in Temagami had been pulled together over fisheries management concerns and how we had discovered that by working with all the users of the resource - as partners - we were able to facilitate an impressive resume of projects furthering our goals. There is a need not only to collect scientific data on the resource but also to share the information so that everyone understands the need for and will support the necessary management decisions. Then there needs to be further research conducted to evaluate the success of any management decision. Working as a partner, not just as an advisory group, in the process of making management decisions works. To conclude the afternoon sessions, Steve Wilkins, from the Ontario Stewardship Program, spoke about the structure of the Ontario Stewardship Program as well as the multitude of successes of the Stewardship Councils working across southern Ontario. He outlined the varied aspects of this program and how it could be helpful in Northern Ontario communities concerned with sustainability of the natural resources.

Throughout the symposium, it was very evident that the concern and work of many individuals has made a real difference for sport and leisure fishing opportunities across Northern Ontario.