Ontario's Inland Fisheries: An Evolving Management Approach in Response to Emerging Issues and Changing Resource Use

Monday, August 18, 2014: 5:00 PM
205B (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
Nigel P. Lester , Aquatic Research and Monitoring Section, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Peterborough, ON, Canada
Warren Dunlop , Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Peterborough, ON, Canada
Helen Ball , Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Peterborough, ON, Canada
Kim Armstrong , Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Thunder Bay, ON, Canada
Ontario’s large and diverse landscape provides a wide range of aquatic ecosystems that support the highest freshwater fish diversity in Canada. The distribution of fish across Ontario’s aquatic ecosystems is a result of post-glacial re-colonization, climate, and human influence. These fishery resources support Aboriginal subsistence, commercial food and bait, and recreational fisheries. The over 250,000 lakes and thousands of km of rivers and streams span a north-south climatic gradient of about 1000 to 2400 Growing Degree Days and exhibit variable morpho-edaphic characteristics, both of which influence fish production.  Aboriginal subsistence dominates in the far north;  the commercial food fishery occurs on a few large lakes and a number of smaller, primarily northwestern, lakes;  the largest inland commercial bait fishery is on Lake Simcoe; and the recreational fishery is mostly in the southern 2/3 of the province. Fisheries management is undertaken at various scales and approaches have evolved in response to economic, social and environmental drivers, as well as fishery development through time.  We discuss four phases of fishery development: (1) latent, pre-World War II, (2) rapid growth, 1950-1980, (3) reactive, 1980-2005, (4) proactive (> 2005).  For each period, we describe changes in (1) resource use, (2) policy and (3) science development.