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8 Million Anglers Left in the Dark: Why Don’t We Get a Say in Fishing Closures?

Why are US environmental groups invited to the table while Canadian stakeholders are not? Canada boasts 8 million anglers. These 8 million anglers generate an annual economy of $9 billion in support of their passion. Recreational fishing supports jobs in tourism, transportation, retail goods, boating, vehicle sales, ATV’s and snowmobiles. The taxes generated on multiple levels as a result of people fishing are substantial. Even so, the federal government has not always viewed sustainable recreational fishing as an important part of the Canadian economy. The Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association (CSIA) is the only national recreational fishing industry organization in Canada. Representing retailers, manufacturers and sales agencies, the CSIA works closely with sister trade organization, The American Sportfishing Association, on issues of mutual interest. Many of the U.S. Environmental Non-Government Organizations (ENGOs) and benefactors which threaten the future of fishing access in Canada are engaged in identical campaigns back home. The contrast, however, is in transparency. Even after asking to be included in discussions concerning major policy or legislative initiatives which directly impact fishing, CSIA is never invited to the table. U.S. ENGOs, on the other hand, are welcomed as "stakeholders" by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC). Before an accountable, transparent and fairly balanced stakeholder policy process can be established at DFO and ECCC, there must be full disclosure by these agencies of the existing funding, partners, maps and plans involved in ongoing policies and plans concerning MPAs. Go to Article 1: Funds from U.S. ENGOs Threaten Your Right to Fish Go to Article 2: The North American Model of Conservation Go to Article 3: Protection Zones: One Size Does Not Fit All Go to Article 4: Canadians’ Access to Fishing [...]

Protection Zones: One Size Does Not Fit All

Where fisheries closures arise, supporting scientific data is curiously absent. Last week we outlined the seven components of the North American Conservation Model. Included in that list are three crucial guidelines: that regulations be based on sound science, that the public have sustainable access to public lands, and that public resources be effectively and sustainably managed. When used as intended, Protection Zones (e.g. MPAs) are one tool among many which professionals can use to manage aquatic resources. They can span a variety of habitats and they can vary in purpose and level of protection. At their core, they are established to protect threatened fish stocks and sensitive habitat within specified boundaries, and can be removed once their goals have been accomplished. WHAT ARE MPAs? Where MPAs are suggested, site specific scientific data is required to first determine what problems exist, before fishery managers can decide what solution fits best. However, U.S. Environmental Non-Government Organizations (ENGOs) have hijacked the intended use to suit an entirely different anti-sustainable use agenda. While these efforts are championed under the guise of ‘protecting habitat,’ documented threats and supporting scientific data is often absent. In many instances Anglers are being falsely portrayed as a threat to habitat, fishery conservation and to healthy fish populations. Instead of science, arbitrary percentages and a ‘one size fits all’ approach for vast networks of ‘Protection Zones’ are now being mandated for Canadian waters. Sadly, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), and Prime Minister Trudeau have followed along with these organizations. As we mentioned in our previous article, ENGOs do not pay taxes, and they petition the government for funds to support their cause. In many ways, responsible anglers [...]

Re: Point Pelee National Park region National Marine Conservation Area (NMCA) feasibility study

September 24, 2018 Hon. Catherine McKenna Minister, Environment and Climate Change House of Commons Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6 Dear Minister McKenna, Re: Point Pelee National Park region National Marine Conservation Area (NMCA) feasibility study The Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association (CSIA) represents the manufacturers, distributors, retailers and sales agencies which serve the 8 million Canadians who fish as an outdoor heritage activity. According to federal government figures our industry currently generates an annual national economy of over $8.6 billion dollars. In tandem with hunting our customers support over 100,000 jobs in all regions of the country. More Canadians fish for recreation than play golf and hockey combined. Sportfishing in all of the Great Lakes is some of the best in the world and generates a significant economy in Canada and the U.S. We write in support of the Ontario Commercial Fisheries Association (OCFA) position opposing the concept of a feasibility study by Parks Canada to create a NMCA around Point Pelee National Park, Pelee Island and all of Pigeon Bay. The OCFA Executive Director explained their opposition in their letter to you of September 17, 2018 (attached). Our information is a motion proposing such a feasibility study will soon be tabled in the House of Commons, directed to you and the CEO of Parks Canada. This Lake Erie region is very popular with anglers and the fishery for multiple species is very healthy and sustainable under current policy and regulation. CSIA is also opposed to any initiative by ECCC or Parks Canada to establish a policy or legislative foundation for eventual permanent / severely restrictive access closures for recreational anglers in Lake Erie or any of the Great Lakes without a credible basis in independently peer [...]