Commercial Fishing Agreement Turns from Slap in the Face to Complete Insult

March 13, 2013

For Immediate Release

March 13th, 2013

Ottawa, ON – Bill Walker, MPP for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, and Larry Miller, MP, recently voiced disappointment for a new five year commercial fishing agreement that would allow commercial fishing vessels in Colpoys and Owen Sound bays. Upon reviewing the details of the agreement, opposition to this decision by both MPP Walker and MP Miller has been multiplied.

Both expressed disappointment and concerns for the implications that a commercial fishing agreement could have on local sport fishing, tourism to the area, the local economy and also the safety of the fisherman who use the bays. It was indicated in a joint News Release that they would be arranging discussions with stakeholders as well as the Ministry of Natural Resources (Ontario) to voice their disappointment.

The situation has gone from bad to worse though after a review of the agreement. Walker and Miller have learned that not only does the agreement allow the Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) to set their nets in these bays but the agreement includes a financial aspect wherein the SON will receive approximately $170,000 per year for five years for a total of $850,000.

“Yesterday, I expressed that I had concerns with the possible impacts that this agreement could have on recreational and economic activities in Bruce and Grey counties,” said Walker. “I am very troubled by learning that this commercial fishing agreement involves a financial aspect. Not only are vessels being put in the bays where local sport fishers love to fish but they are being paid to be there. This is very upsetting.”

“I am deeply disappointed in learning the details and hidden aspects of this new agreement that will no doubt kill local sport fishing in these bays,” said Miller. “When I found out that commercial fishing rights were being granted I felt it was a slam against local recreational fishers, after reviewing the agreement and finding out that about $850,000 will be provided by the Province I feel as though this is a complete insult and a shameful act by the Ministry.”

The agreement will come into effect on April 26th, 2013 (60 days after signing) and will be in place until February 28th, 2015. Copies of the agreement can be attained by calling the Ministry of Natural Resources Upper Great Lakes Management Unit at 519-371-0420.

Walker also pointed to the fact that it strange that the Provincial Liberal Government can find any room for an $850,000 agreement while facing a deficit.

“It is ironic that the Liberal government can find $850,000 in funding despite facing a $12 billion dollar deficit, and especially when the most they have provided to local volunteer sport fishing groups for stocking programs is $10,000. It is very disheartening!”

Substantive Commercial Fishing Agreement (pdf)