Increased Hatchery Funding: Manitoba

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Increased, dedicated funding for the province’s fish hatchery system means there’s an even better chance Manitoba fishers will catch a big one in the province’s many lakes, Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh announced recently.

The funding will help ensure the hatchery system’s long-term sustainability, more than triple the walleye fry the Whiteshell fish hatchery raises to 10 million a year and double the number of trout fingerlings it raises to 500,000 a year, the minister said. The funding will also ensure the Swan Creek hatchery is able to continue raising as many as 40 million walleye fry each year, he added.

“Manitobans have some of the best fishing opportunities in the world, with access to more than 30 species of sport fish, in diverse habitats, across the province and the opportunity to see more than 60 other species in their native habitats,” said Mackintosh. “We are going to help grow more of those Manitoba monsters our lakes are known for. I’m looking forward to hearing more fishing tales in coming years and this funding means a lot more of them will be true.”

The province’s hatchery system raises walleye, trout and 10 other species of fish that are stocked across the province’s more than 90 commercially and recreationally fished lakes. Stocking lakes provides more tourism and economic development in rural Manitoba by enhancing lakes with more diverse fishing opportunities and also replenishes depleted fish stocks and creates new fisheries where none previously existed, the minister said.

The new, dedicated funding will come from an angling license increase of $5. This year, Manitobans will pay $25.10 for a regular license, which is the lowest price west of Quebec. Angling licenses will remain free for Manitoba seniors. The fee increase will raise $850,000 for hatchery production, an increase of $170,000 or 20 per cent. The minister said the new dedicated funding will shift the cost of stocking Manitoba lakes from tax payers to the fishers who directly benefit from it, and will create a more fair, long term, sustainable funding base for the hatchery system.

“Historically, Manitoba has had very inexpensive angling license rates and costs for fishing licenses have not been adjusted in five years,” said Mackintosh. “The new rates will remain among the lowest in Canada and ensure fishers who benefit from the provincial fish hatchery system are investing directly into it.”

“This increase in angling license fees is critically important to ensuring a stable and perpetual source of funding for Manitoba’s hatcheries and their stocking programs,” said David Carrick, founder and past president of Fish Futures. “In particular, this funding should make it possible to operate the hatchery system at full capacity, which will result in significantly more fish being stocked into recreational fisheries throughout the province.”

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