FMZ 9 Advisory Council considering future of dam on Black Sturgeon River
Changes to fisheries regulations in provincial Fisheries Management Zones (FMZ) 6 and 9 are on the horizon for 2010. Anglers in FMZ 6 will soon be able to take advantage of extended fishing opportunities, while in FMZ 9, the zone’s advisory council is working to restore native fisheries in Black Bay, and early in the new year will consider options for Camp 43 dam on the Black Sturgeon River.
Highlights to regulation changes in FMZ 6 include an increase in the winter lake trout season by four weeks, giving anglers from February 1 to March 31 to harvest this popular sport fish. The regulation for pike is changing to eliminate the protected slot, and to allow the harvest of one pike over 70 cm as part of a limit of four fish with a sport license, or two fish with a conservation license. Regulations for smallmouth bass harvest are being simplified. Year round, resident anglers will now be allowed to harvest four smallmouth bass of any size with a sport license, or two with a conservation license. Details on all regulations are contained in the ministry’s recreational fishing summary.
Regulation changes to FMZ 6 were developed with considerable input from the FMZ 6 Advisory Council, which is comprised of local representatives, including two from the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.) Zone B. FMZ 6 lies immediately north and east of Lake Superior and takes in a large portion of the Thunder Bay area, parts of Nipigon and Dryden, Lake Superior’s St. Ignace and Simpson Islands, and the islands in Nipigon Bay.
“The extension of a winter lake trout season is great news for local anglers and businesses, and is due in good part, to the efforts of the volunteers on the FMZ 6 Advisory Council,” says Mike Reader, O.F.A.H. Executive Director. “Anglers are closely connected to our fisheries and are well equipped to make a significant contribution to the wise management of our recreational fisheries. Engaging these and other local stakeholders in the process through an advisory council is a positive step by the ministry.”
O.F.A.H. Zone B is also locally represented on the advisory council for FMZ 9, which encompasses the Canadian waters of Lake Superior, from Pigeon River to Sault Ste. Marie. As this zone includes a huge geographic area, the council is further divided into two sub-committees. The western sub-committee has been examining options for the restoration of native fisheries in Black Bay. Early in the New Year, it expects to provide the MNR with its recommendation for action on the Black Sturgeon River Dam, which acts as an important sea lamprey barrier, but may also be preventing walleye from accessing spawning habitat. Fisheries Management Zone Advisory Councils were introduced in 2006 as part of an MNR overhaul that eliminated Fishing Divisions and in their place, created 20 Fisheries Management Zones (FMZ). Zone Advisory Councils are typically comprised of angler organizations, commercial fisheries, outfitters, independent fisheries biologists, First Nations and Métis communities and other stakeholders. FMZ 6 was one of three pilot advisory councils initiated in 2006, and FMZ 9 Advisory Council was formed in 2009. Over time, the province’s plan is to establish an advisory council for each zone.
Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) regulation changes take effect on January 1, 2010. The 2010 Recreational Fishing Summary is available online now at www.ontario.ca/fishing, and come January, will be available in print at Service Ontario centers, and at some outdoor outfitters. With over 100,000 members, subscribers and supporters, and 660 member clubs, the O.F.A.H. is the largest nonprofit, charitable, fishing, hunting and conservation-based organization in Ontario, and the voice of anglers and hunters. For more information, visit www.ofah.org.