New restrictions on how many walleye one can fish from Lake Nipissing come into effect Jan. 1 will hurt business a local fishing lodges, owners say.
The Ministry of Natural Resources said the population is low and young fish aren't making it to full growth. As an alternative to the pending restrictions, a group of businesses that depend on the Nipissing walleye have a plan to breed walleye and put them back into Lake Nipissing.
Scott Nelson, the group’s spokesperson, said the business community will foot the bill — which is estimated to be around $150,000 to start up and operate for a year.
"My business relies on this lake and the MNR's track record of looking after it isn't very good," he said.
Nelson rents out cottages along Callandar Bay in Lake Nipissing and said the province's plan to change the daily cap for sports fishing from four fish to two will hurt businesses like his.
He said he believes the province is more interested in the cheapest solution to the problem.
But MNR Minister Michael Gravelle said "it’s more a question of our specialists and our ministry biologists determining restocking is not the only solution to the decline."
Gravelle also said restocking has not worked in bigger lakes.
But Nelson pointed to examples in the United States and Manitoba where he says it has worked.
"I mean it’s hard to argue with the results — from a completely devastated fishery to completely open again in seven years," he said.
While the MNR maintains restocking is not the best solution, Gravelle said it will consider Nelson's proposal.