By Chad Ingram
Published Jan. 10, 2019
Haliburton Highlands Outdoors Association is hoping the Ministry of
Natural Resources and Forestry will revisit its decision to cease its
assistance in an egg collection program that supplies eggs for the
Haliburton Fish Hatchery.
ministry has helped with the effort for the entirety of the hatchery’s
existence, or just more than 20 years, but the association was recently
informed that assistance would stop. The hatchery stocks the county’s
lakes with thousands of fish each year.
provide the knowledge, and they provide the equipment,” said HHOA
president Larry Hewitt, explaining that equipment includes large boats
and specialized netting. “The whole system.”
Hewitt told the newspaper the process is not a large draw on the ministry’s resources.
“It’s only two days a year, for a couple of people,” he said. “Dollars and cents-wise, it’s not a big thing.”
Fish grown in the hatchery have a much better chance of surviving than those in the wild.
of the species produced in the hatchery is the Haliburton Gold lake
trout, an ice-age species of fish that exists in just a few of the
county’s lakes and has been designated as a heritage species. According
to the HHOA, in the wild, only one or two per every 1,000 eggs will
survive to become a trout measuring eight inches in length, while in the
hatchery, some 650 per every 1,000 eggs will accomplish the same feat.
with its stocking activities, the association provides tours of the
hatchery to the public – “We encourage people to come in and learn about
the life cycle of fish,” Hewitt said – and educational information for
anglers. For instance, while early in the year only about 20 per cent of
trout caught are likely to be female, by September, about 80 per cent
are likely to be. Obviously, removing too many females from area lakes
can be detrimental to the local fish stock.
the MNRF does not reconsider, then Hewitt said the association would
need to fundraise for a new boat suitable for egg collection, and other
“It’s forcing us to go beyond where we want to go,” he said, reiterating the association is run by volunteers.
“If we don’t have eggs, we can’t raise fish,” he said.
association intended to send correspondence to Haliburton-Kawartha
Lakes-Brock MPP Laurie Scott, who is also a cabinet minister in the Ford
TheTimes asked the ministry if his was a province-wide directive or local
decision within the Bancroft District of the MNRF, and why the decision
had been made.
bring consistency in the ministry’s approach to wild egg collections in
support of the Community Hatchery Program administered by the Ontario
Federation of Anglers and Hunters, Bancroft District staff will be
transitioning the responsibility of the Haliburton Gold lake trout egg
collections to the Haliburton Highlands Outdoors Association fish
hatchery starting in the fall of 2019,” reads a response from MNRF
communications staff. “MNRF will continue to support the Haliburton
Highlands Outdoors Association in building their knowledge and capacity
consistent with the approaches of other community hatcheries so that
they can fully take on this role next year by conducting the egg
collections themselves or contracting out the working under a licence
from the ministry.”