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Information Notice:   EBR Registry Number:   012-3903
Title:
Changes to the Ontario Fishery Regulations for Walleye on Lake Scugog
 
Ministry:
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Date Information Notice loaded to the Registry:
November 27, 2015
 
 

This notice was first published to the Environmental Registry on April 15, 2015.

This notice was republished November 27, 2015 to provide decision information, see Decision section below.

 
Keyword(s):   Fish and Wildlife

This notice is for your information. The Environmental Bill of Rights does not require this notice to be placed on the Environmental Registry, however, section 6 of the Act does allow the Environmental Registry to be used to share information about the environment with the public.

 
Rationale for Exemption to Public Comment:

The proposed fishery regulation changes for walleye on Lake Scugog require a change to the Ontario Fishery Regulations (OFR).

The Fisheries Act, R.S.C., 1985, Chap F-14, as amended, and its regulations, including the Ontario Fishery Regulations (OFR), SOR/89-93 are not prescribed under the Environmental Bill of Rights.

Under Subsection 14(1) of the OFR, the provincial Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry may, through the issuance of a variation order, vary a close time, fishing quota or limit on the size or weight of fish where a close time, fishing quota or limit on the size or weight of fish is already fixed in respect of an area under these regulations.

Description:

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), with support from the Fisheries Management Zone 17 (FMZ 17) Advisory Council, is inviting the public to provide input on proposed changes to fishing regulations for walleye on Lake Scugog (within FMZ 17).

The MNRF with the support of the FMZ 17 Advisory Council developed a Fisheries Management Plan for FMZ 17 in 2009 which identifies management challenges associated with the recreational fishery in FMZ 17. The observed declines in walleye abundance, and associated shifts in the structure of the fish community, have been identified as the highest priority fisheries management challenge in FMZ 17.

The walleye population in Lake Scugog has been assessed by MNRF since the 1970’s. The walleye fishery in Lake Scugog was excellent in the 1970’s and 1980’s; however, the population started to decline in the 1990’s and continues to decline today.

Since the 1990’s, walleye abundance has continued to decline due to continued high fishing pressure and the additional factor of low annual recruitment (the number of small/young fish being added to the population each year due to natural reproduction). Fish community structure changes may also be impacting walleye abundance in Lake Scugog. The fish community in Lake Scugog is now dominated by bluegill and black crappie. These fish species compete directly with young walleye for food and habitat. Black crappie may also prey on young walleye. These factors, among others, may lead to a reduction in the number of walleye that survive to adulthood. If the walleye fishery is to recover, harvest levels of the past can no longer be sustained.

The MNRF, with cooperation with the FMZ 17 Advisory Council, has developed proposed regulation options to address the serious decline of walleye in Lake Scugog.

The proposed regulation options are as follows:

Option # 1: Close winter walleye season (Jan. 1 – last day in Feb.), maintain current summer walleye season (the season for Lake Scugog would then be aligned with the dates of the open walleye season for FMZ 17 (2nd Sat. in May – Nov. 15th)).

Option # 2: Close summer and winter walleye seasons (long-term moratorium). Seasons for other fisheries remain open.

Purpose of the Notice:

The purpose of this notice is to advise the public that, in accordance with the Ontario Fishery Regulation, MNRF is proposing changes to the fisheries regulations regarding walleye in Lake Scugog and to solicit comments on those proposed changes.

Decision:

MNRF will be closing the walleye fishery for Lake Scugog in Fisheries Management Zone (FMZ) 17 year round until further notice. The closure will take effect on January 1, 2016. The regulation change takes into account advice from both the Fisheries Management Zone 17 council, input from the public and stakeholders and the best science available.

Other Information:

Persons are invited to submit their comments to the contact person listed in this notice or by submitting comments directly via email to FishPTBO@ontario.ca by May 29, 2015.

Link to the Backgrounder

Information on the Fisheries Management Zone 17 Fisheries Management Plan, additional information on the Ecological Framework for Fisheries Management and the Fisheries Management Zones can be found at: http://www.ontario.ca/environment-and-energy/fisheries-management-zones.

Other Public Consultation Opportunities:

There will be one open house in April of 2015 for the public to attend and provide comment. Please contact the person listed in this notice for more information on the open house. The FMZ 17 Fisheries Advisory Council will be consulting within their networks on the proposed changes.

 
Contact:

Lisa Solomon
Management Biologist
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Regional Operations Division
Southern Region
Peterborough District
300 Water Street
Floor 1
Robinson Place South Tower
Peterborough Ontario
K9J 8M5
Phone: (705) 755-3305
Fax: (705) 755-3125

Additional Information:

The following government offices have additional information regarding this Notice. To arrange a viewing of these documents please call the Ministry Contact or the Office listed below.

Aurora District
50 Bloomington Road West
Aurora Ontario
L4G 3G8
Phone: (905) 713-7400