The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) has prepared a draft Provincial Fish Strategy which is a guiding document for managing fisheries resources in Ontario. It identifies provincial fisheries goals and objectives and tactics to achieve them. The main purposes of the strategy are to improve the conservation and management of Ontario’s fisheries resources; and to encourage fishing as an activity that contributes to the individual well-being and the social, cultural and economic well-being of communities in Ontario. MNR is seeking input from the public, stakeholders and Aboriginal Peoples on the content of the draft Provincial Fish Strategy. This input will be incorporated into the final Provincial Fish Strategy and will enable MNR to develop a strategy that reflects and balances the perspectives of all Ontarians.
Currently, MNR’s strategic direction for the management of fisheries is provided primarily by the Strategic Plan for Ontario Fisheries II (SPOF II), which was released in 1992.
Since that time, the management of fisheries in Ontario has changed considerably. New stressors have emerged and are recognized as key drivers in aquatic ecosystems, including invasive species and climate change. The mandate of MNR has evolved to include species at risk, biodiversity, renewable energy and other programs that influence the management of fish and fisheries. Through rulings of the Supreme Court of Canada and continuing dialogue with Aboriginal Peoples, MNR has an improved understanding of Aboriginal and Treaty Rights and how they may affect the allocation of fisheries than when SPOF II was developed.
The draft Provincial Fish Strategy embraces a landscape and risk-based approach to fisheries management, consistent with MNR’s current transformation initiative, by providing direction on how the these approaches will be applied in the context of fisheries management.
The draft Provincial Fish Strategy provides management direction to MNR staff and will better position the ministry to respond to changing stressors on the fisheries resources, changing government and societal priorities, changes to MNR’s organizational structure, and changes to how our partners operate.