Temagami Stewardship Council
To preserve, protect, restore and improve, the natural resources and environment of Lake Temagami & Cross Lake !
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Comment on the Hunt - North Bay Nugget

The comment by John R. Hunt of May 26th in the North Bay Nugget regarding

slot size walleye regulation was right on! Public Adherence to a slot size regulation can

have all the economic and fisheries benefits he suggests. Conformance to the regulation

will result in an improved, more vibrant walleye population. However, the fact that the

article was restricted to only 4 online comments speaks volumes as to why slot size

regulation is not and will not work in the lakes of Northern Ontario.

On Lake Temagami our Stewardship Council collaborated with the MNR to

create a slot size regulation in 2003 based on considerable scientific data and the input of

local expertise. At the time the MNR’s experts told us that our slot was wrong. But

successive FWIN nettings studies by Laurentian University in 2003 and then in 2006 and

2007 showed the walleye population to be recovering significantly.

Unfortunately, a continuing recovery of the walleye fishery depends on a lot of

factors. The walleye may have a poor reproductive year. Things like dramatic change in

temperature or water level during the spawning season may influence the walleye’s

ability to have a successful spawning year. Remember the drastically low water levels

and walleye spawning areas high and dry in 2010.

Anglers may also become aware that there is no enforcement of fishing regulation

and with no threat of punishment for breaking the law some my pay no regard to the slot

size. It is also evident that the more fished down the population becomes the greater the

temptation to keep the only fish you catch even if it is in the slot size.

It was also noted in the restricted comment that the only management tool

employed by the MNR, the organization that we the public of Ontario would expect to be

responsible for the enhancement of the fishery, is to restrict access to the fishery. Why do

we accept the do nothing approach to fisheries management employed by the Ontario

MNR? You need to look no further than our neighbours to the south to find examples of

fisheries management that includes fisheries enhancement.

The netting of walleye exasperates all the above factors. Gill nets kill all the

walleye caught in them. Common sense would suggest that slot sized walleye are

released by non-Native anglers only to be killed in Native nets. What is the incentive for

non-Native anglers to release slot sized fish? The netting of any species of fish when they

are spawning puts tremendous stress on the fishery. On Lake Temagami we have had two

walleye spawning runs extinct for years. Being politically correct by restricting comment

and pretending the problems do not exist will not help our fisheries resource recover.

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