O.F.A.H. applauds MNR investment in Ontario's fishery
Photo by Izumi Outdoors Inc.On May 20th the Honourable Linda Jeffrey, Minister of Natural Resources, announced a major initiative in support of the Lake Ontario Atlantic Salmon Restoration Program (LOASRP). The program is jointly led by the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.), with assistance from other levels of government and a number of public and private sector companies and organizations.
As early as this summer, work will begin on a multimillion-dollar rebuild of the provincially-run Normandale Fish Culture Station, which is responsible for raising more than a half million Atlantic salmon annually for the LOASRP. The O.F.A.H. applauds the province's ongoing commitment to the restoration of the once-abundant species, and to Ontario's fish culture program.
"I am pleased that the rebuilding of the Normandale Fish Culture Station is moving forward," said Linda Jeffrey, Minister of Natural Resources. "My Ministry understands how important it is to restore a self-sustaining population of Atlantic salmon to Lake Ontario. The Atlantic salmon is a part of Ontario's rich biodiversity and this centre will restore Lake Ontario's Atlantic salmon population to its natural glory."
At 85 years old, the Normandale hatchery, located 20 kilometers south of Simcoe in Norfolk County, is in immediate need of upgrading. As the lead production facility for the LOASRP, it is essential that Normandale be fully capable of raising healthy Atlantic salmon to various life stages. The rebuilt hatchery will also have the capacity to raise other species, including chinook salmon and rainbow trout.
"Healthy fisheries are vitally important to the ecological, economic and social wellbeing of Ontario," said Mike Reader, O.F.A.H. Executive Director. "The province, through this significant investment in the Normandale Fish Culture Station, has clearly demonstrated its continued commitment to Ontario's fish culture program and to the restoration of Atlantic salmon to Lake Ontario where they once thrived."
The Minister shared the good news during the ceremonial release of the LOASRP's two millionth fish on May 20, 2010, at the Belfountain Conservation Area on the Credit River. At the same event, LCBO President and CEO Bob Peter announced that the LCBO will continue to provide major support for the program through the Natural Heritage Fund beyond 2010.
More than forty partners provide financial and in-kind support to the LOASRP. Australia's Banrock Station Wines and the Natural Heritage Fund of the LCBO are the major sponsors, with additional support coming from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association, Fish For Ever Foundation, Fleming College, conservation authorities, landowners and many others.
With over 100,000 members, subscribers and supporters, and 660 member clubs, the O.F.A.H. is the largest nonprofit, conservation-based organization in Ontario, and the voice of anglers and hunters. For more information, visit www.ofah.org.