There was a welcome development for anglers who fish Lake Winnipeg this past week with the Manitoba government’s announcement that it will offer voluntary buyouts for commercial netters and introduce new commercial and recreational fishing regulations in an effort to help assure sustainable fish populations on the big lake.
“We are seeing early warning signs the sustainability of fisheries resources in Lake Winnipeg is at risk,” Rochelle Squires, Manitoba minister of Sustainable Development, said in a news release. “By acting today, we will ensure the ability of Manitoba’s great lake to generate food, provide enjoyment and support economic growth in (the) future.”
The province through March 21 is offering a voluntary commercial fisheries quota buy-back option for netters to sell their annual allowable catch back to the government. The province then will retire the purchased allotments in order to reduce the amount of commercial catch taken from the lake every year.
In an effort to allow more smaller fish to grow to spawning size and increase the overall natural productivity of the lake over time, the province will consult netters on other sustainable regulation measures, including minimum mesh sizes for commercial nets and minimum length limits for hook-and-line anglers to keep fish.
A 30-day consultation period began Monday, March 11.