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an opinion of John A. Vance, outfitter/guide, Environmental Engineering Tech, and outdoor writer. 
special note, commercial fishing in Ontario does not include charter boats, or the charter boat industry - just netting, such as gill netting, trawl netting and hoop nets etc.

To-day, and on into the future, we here in North America must be viewed as North Americans, not as Americans and Canadians. Indeed, we are THE SAME PEOPLE - OUR ORIGINS/BACKGROUNDS/HERITAGES ARE THE SAME! 

We cross the border, going either north or south - and what do you see - more of the same, from where you just came - the people are the same. If there is a natural disaster - without thought - either folk will rush to the aid of the other - in a heartfelt heartbeat. Many of us have friends and relatives in each respective country. 


As Canadians or Americans - we people have no quarrel with one-another. The politicians on the other hand, would like us to perceive that we are separate entities - separate people - BUT THAT WE AIN'T. 

It should be suffice to say here that the politicians wish to keep the people as separate entities - for their self-serving needs - anyone can quickly figure-out these politically motivated needs. The point is that the border, or any other division, or perceived difference, serves politicians more than it really serves the grass-roots person on either side of the border. 

Basically, the politics of the US is government for the people, by the people. 

In Canada however, our government's parliamentary system is a direct hand-me-down of a monarchy - a dictatorship! That is why we have 'crown land', crown attorneys, etc. In our system, everything is revolved around, and for ' the crown' - not the people. 

If you were to look at our laws here, you'd see a 'lawyers dream come true' - and wouldn't you know - many of the politicians here are lawyers! (If you read the overview section - the words 'self-serving' may ring a bell) 

Because of these above facts, In Ontario, Canada, whatever the government of the day wants/wishes/decrees - they get - regardless of what 'we people' want. POLITICAL 'WILL' rules EVERY TIME! 

You need to know these things - the basic background, in order to help effectively eliminate commercial netting from the Ontario side of Lake Erie. 

Several groups of concerned sport fisher-folk approached the Ontario government Ministry of Natural Resources with their concerns; that we would like to see commercial fishing in Lake Erie abolished. The MNR, already in negotiations with the commercial fishing industry, said that commercial fishing is here to stay. 

Of course, the commercial fishery have much more funding to contribute to politicians and their parties, and funding available to run campaigns etc. 

The MNR has made the announcement ( see below) that they have signed an agreement with the commercial fishery industry. This agreement is so self-serving on both their parts, that it defies reasoning or common sense. The agreement puts the commercial fishing industry 'in charge' of their own fact gathering processes and policing - which is like putting a fox in charge of the hen house. The government is going to also use this data - to help regulate (all - including sport) fishing. As well, wouldn't you know - the government is going to get an increase in royalties from all the fish caught from the commercial fishery. 

Yes, I'm going to include this release, in  its entirety (see below) for you to read for yourselves. 

First though, I  need the AMERICAN people to realize that we need your help if we are going to eliminate commercial fishing from Lake Erie - this will be dealt in the 'What we can do' section  (see blue index at left). Our politicians don't want to listen or respond to the sport anglers of Ontario. We'll need American anglers to en-mass, write letters and e-mails to our politicians - BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY to write letters to your own State politicians - AND LOBBY your governments to PRESSURE our Ontario government to change the policy, and stop commercial fishing on Lake Erie. 

Simply - our Ontario politicians won't respond in the sport fisher's favor - if you and I singly approach them - even en-mass: They will give you rhetoric, and statements that'll effectively (as far as they're concerned) put you on hold -permanently. They'll dead end you with a volley of confusing fact and figures. Always remember, when you're dealing with Ontario bureaucrats, that 'bullshit baffles brains' - so - when they lay their crap upon you. - don't lose sight of your focus! They'll also try to make us feel like small frogs in a big pond. 

I do however, feel that if American politicians get involved, and pressure Ontario politicians on the sport fisher's behalf, that positive gains will be achieved. We must make the Ontario government realize that individually we may be small frogs, but within the big picture - it is they whom are the small frogs in the big pond - not us - and nothing else will do! 

We must show them ( the Ontario government) that by their present course, they are not only disrespectful of millions of people on both sides of our borders, but they are sadly disrespectful of the re-newable natural resources within  Lake Erie - that we share. 

Here is the Ministry of Natural Resources News release as mentioned above 

January 12, 1998 

                   Snobelen Signs Commercial Fishing Agreement 

          Natural Resources Minister John Snobelen today signed a formal agreement 
          with the Ontario Commercial Fisheries' Association (OCFA) that will see the 
          industry assume a larger role in managing the long-term health of the province's 
          commercial fishery. The industry has also agreed to pay higher royalties on the 
          value of commercially caught fish. 

          "This agreement marks the beginning of a new business relationship between 
          the Ministry and the OCFA in support of managing Ontario's commercial 
          fishery, which is one of the largest freshwater fisheries in the world," said Mr. 

          The agreement was signed by the Minister and OCFA president John Perks 
          at the association's annual meeting in Toronto. Mr. Snobelen also presented a 
          cheque for $92,000 to the association to cover start-up costs related to its new 
          fisheries management responsibilities. 

          Under the agreement, royalties on commercially caught fish will increase from 
          two per cent to 3.3 per cent over the next two years, generating up to an 
          additional $500,000 annually for MNR's Fish and Wildlife Special Purpose 
          Account (SPA). The increased royalties provided to the SPA will be used to 
          improve sport fishing in Ontario as well as to support the industry's increased 
          responsibilities in fisheries management. 

          MNR will continue to set standards for all management activities, establish 
          appropriate controls and monitor the performance of the commercial fishing 
          industry. The new working arrangement will allow MNR staff to concentrate 
          their efforts on the allocation of fishery resources, developing regulations, law 
          enforcement and fisheries science. 

          Under the agreement, OCFA will assume a major role in the delivery of four 
          areas of commercial fishery management including: 

               entry of data from commercial fish harvest reports; 

               administration of the commercial fishing royalty system; 

               compliance monitoring through the operation of an expanded Lake Erie 
               port observer system; and 

               participation in co-operative fisheries assessment projects to 
               supplement MNR's data collection programs. 

          Mr. Snobelen noted that the commercial fishing industry has established a 
          good track record of working co-operatively with MNR in several of these 
          areas. For example, the industry currently collects the commercial royalties 
          and provides boats and crews to assist with the ministry's fisheries 
          assessment programs. 

          The landed value of fish caught commercially in Ontario exceeds $40 million 
          annually, and increases in value to about $200 million after processing. Over 
          90 per cent of the industry's products are exported. 


          Peter Hickey 
          Minister's Office 
          TORONTO (416) 314-2212 

As you can see, we have our work cut out for us! 

But we CAN do something - you and I. Firstly, PARTICIPATE - read-on, the other sections found here - the actual meat of the situation, so you become informed of the whole picture. Too, tell your friends about this web site, encourage them to come here and also arm themselves with the education needed to ultimately eliminate commercial netting form Lake Erie. 

My personal needs are simple, to be able to make a living, and afford this web site, I need you to visit my product section of this web site, and make purchases of items that will enhance your 'sports activities' anyway.

As well, if you would like to advertise here, on this web site,contact us, your patronage will be appreciated

Author: John A. Vance
Copyright © 1998 John A. Vance. . . 
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