Your opinion matters: comment on Ottawa River fisheries management

Be a voice for the Ottawa River’s fisheries! Ontario wants your feedback on the new draft fisheries management plan.

Meaghan Murphy, Staff Scientist
Ottawa Riverkeeper

Do you fish the Ottawa River? Is the conservation of the Ottawa River’s biodiversity important to you? Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF) has just posted their draft fisheries management plan for the Ottawa River (FMZ12) and they want your feedback!

The draft plan is the culmination of over six years of collaborative work and consultation between OMNRF, Quebec’s Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP), and the advisory council made up of Ottawa River fisheries users, advocates, and other stakeholders from both provinces. It’s a great example of the type of stakeholder collaboration and consultation that our watershed needs more of when it comes to the management of our water resources.

Since 2010, Ottawa Riverkeeper has participated in the planning process for FMZ12 as a member of the Ottawa River Advisory Council. The plan outlines how fisheries on the Ottawa River will be monitored and managed to ensure sustainable, quality fisheries on the Ottawa River into the future.

The plan proposes over 50 management actions to be implemented in the future to manage specific fisheries, ensure species diversity, and reduce the impact of threats (e.g. habitat loss, invasive species and disease, and climate change).

Highlights of the plan include:

  • Improved intra-jurisdictional collaboration and management between ON and QC, neighboring FMZs, hydro power producers and aboriginal communities.
  • Better monitoring of fisheries throughout the system to identify and fill in data gaps and track trends.
  • Continued harmonization of regulations between ON and QC.

A comprehensive background report of existing fisheries data on the Ottawa River from both Ontario and Quebec ministry sources can be found here.

Call to Action!

Here’s how you can let the Ontario Government know that Ottawa River Fisheries are important to you:

1. Submit a general comment here.

Sample comment:

I (we) support OMNRF’s Fisheries Management Zone 12 plan for the Ottawa River and believe the plan and its 50+ management actions are a critical step towards protecting/improving the health of the river and its biodiversity.

I (we) applaud the plan for its

  1. Emphasis on interjurisdictional collaboration among and engagement of key stakeholders (a necessity for any successful management plan on the Ottawa River).
  2. Improved monitoring to identify and fill-in in data gaps on this traditionally data poor river.
  3. Comprehensive list of management actions, all of which are necessary for the sustainability of the fish communities on the river.

Going forward I (we) hope that

  1. Management actions will be prioritised not only for the sustainability of recreational fisheries, but for the sustainability/conservation of fish communities as a whole (including those species with limited recreational value).
  2. The plan will recognize that benchmarks for individual species should not be based solely on the already altered conditions of the past few decades. Whenever possible, traditional ecological and anecdotal knowledge (and not just the limited scientific data) should be considered when establishing benchmarks.
  3. The province of Ontario will recognize the importance of these management actions and will invest appropriate funds to implement them.
  4. Ontario will secure commitments from both Quebec and the federal government to adequately support these mutually beneficial management goals.

2. Do you fish the Ottawa River? Fill out an important online survey here to let Ontario know what you think about the different fisheries on the Ottawa.

Did you know?

The Ottawa River is home to 85 species of fish. Between Lac Temiscaming and Carillon Dam, there are 10 distinct river reaches with unique fish communities and pressures on the fisheries.