Letter to Federal Deputy Minister Timothy Sargent , Department of Fisheries and Oceans April 24th , 2020 Letter sent on behalf of the Pioneer Commercial Fishers of Manitoba with regards to the impact on the commercial fishing season due to COVID-19 pandemic. As well as support letters from industry processors.
Letter to Provincial Minister Blaine Pedersen April 20th, 2020 Letter sent on behalf of the Pioneer Commercial Fishers of Manitoba [PCFOM]. The contents of the letter reflect the concerns expressed by the PCFOM Board. At issue is the mesh size change which raised the minimum mesh size on the South Basin and Channel areas of Lake Winnipeg from 3” to 3 1/2”.
Pioneer Commercial Fishers of Manitoba is Born Manitoba (May 21, 2019) Pioneer Commercial Fishers of Manitoba (PCFM) was created by Lake Winnipeg commercial Fishers in order to replace the former Co-Management Board. This new organization will be expanding to offer membership to all Manitoba commercial fishers but the initial undertaking is to represent Lake Winnipeg fishers as currently they are in a desperate position to ensure they continue to exist in a manner that does not cause fatal financial harm to the industry or the many Manitoba communities dependent on the industry.
Mission: Together we are committed to ensure the sustainability of the commercial fishing industry in Manitoba.
Vision: We intend to ensure the commercial fishing industry of Manitoba continue to flourish and is available to be passed down to families for decades to come. This industry is a vital part of Manitoba’s economy and as such creates thousands of jobs and is in large part a major foundation for many of our rural communities
“We are very optimistic that our new organization will be working directly with stakeholders to outline fact-based third-party evidence that will highlight what is really happening in lake Winnipeg and the true value and commitment our Industry brings to Manitoba.” said Einar Sveinson, President PCFM.
This organization is eager to work collaboratively to ensure the sustainability of the lake, industry and communities dependent. There are thousands of jobs directly and indirectly that are impacted by changes to the industry therefore consultation must occur on a larger scale and decisions must be made with facts that are not driven by one side of the argument.
We feel all parties are driven to work together with the common goal to preserve the lake for future generations, but that kind of collaboration means equal representation and constant communication which previously was not occurring through the Co-Management board.
The above goals will be accomplished by undertaking the following activities:
Continue with the Commission research in relation to the lakes eco-system and the MNP report on economic impact of the industry both directly and indirectly
Work towards a new working group with Government that ensures equal representation and fact-based discussion
Educate the public and speak with one voice in relation to the industry
May 6, 2019 PROVINCE INTRODUCES NEW MEASURES TO ENSURE SUSTAINABILITY OF LAKE WINNIPEG FISHERY New Mesh Sizes, Transparency of Science: Squires
The Manitoba government has completed a successful round of quota buy-back from commercial fishers on Lake Winnipeg and based on the results of recent consultations, will implement new minimum mesh sizes for commercial fishers and new limits on the size of fish that can be kept by anglers to help ensure the long-term sustainability of the Lake Winnipeg fishery, Sustainable Development Minister Rochelle Squires announced today.
"Our government is committed to ensuring the sustainability of both the commercial and recreational fisheries while providing a strong foundation for shared management of our natural resources," Squires said. "In order to ensure the sustainability of our lakes and support long-term economic growth, we must recognize and respect the science as part of our decision-making process."
In March, the province announced the option of voluntary individual quota entitlement buyback for commercial fishers designed to relieve pressure on fish stocks in Lake Winnipeg. hat buyback is now complete and the province was able to come to terms for the purchase of 126 individual quota entitlements from 90 fishers, representing almost 525,000 kilograms offish. The total value of quota sold back to the province is almost $5.5 million. Fishers were paid $4 dollars per pound for north basin quota, $5 per pound for channel quota and $6 per pound for South Basin quota.
The province has consulted with commercial fishers and will be implementing a new minimum mesh size of three and one-half inches (in.) in the South Basin and channel areas, beginning with the spring 2020 commercial fishing season. The original consultation proposal was a minimum mesh size of three and three-quarter in. to take effect in fall 2019. The minimum mesh size and timing of these changes is a result of recent consultations and input from commercial fishers and industry stakeholders.
There will be no change to the current three and three-quarter in. minimum mesh size on the north basin. Changes will be implemented for anglers as well. Starting April 1, 2020, a walleye or sauger must be a minimum length of 35 centimetres to be kept if they are caught in Lake Winnipeg, the Winnipeg River below the Pine Falls dam, Red River below the Lockport Dam or Saskatchewan River below the Grand Rapids dam.
These changes will allow a greater proportion of smaller fish to grow to spawning size and increase the overall natural productivity of the lake. The impact of these changes to the walleye and sauger populations will be monitored through the province's annual Lake Winnipeg index-netting program as well as new survey work to be conducted on the Red River.
In addition, the province has committed to share the underlying data on fish stock and will begin by making provincial index-netting data available to stakeholders online, as part of continuing work to develop a shared management model for the Lake Winnipeg fishery.