We’re killing our fishery

Dear sir:
The controversial added tournament on Rainy Lake—Denny’s 30 Rainy Lake Invitational—has hit home as it is the third derby on the lake on this year.
And you can say three more walleye tournaments on the Rainy River at the Town of Rainy River, Emo, and the mini-one at Stratton (which is of less magnitude re possible fish mortality as the fish are kept for their own personal consumption).
All walleye tournaments allow live bait, which through my 60 years of experience, is very damaging if using small hooks with night crawlers, leeches, and minnows attached as the fish occasionally will swallow bait (hook and all), live through the tournament, but then don’t survive shortly afterwards.
I have been fighting this issue, and have ridiculed the Ministry of Natural Resources, on allowing live bait on our number-one fish (the walleye) and not allowing live bait on the secondary fish (the bass).
But I personally will apologize to the MNR because I spent more than an hour with the ministry biologist and was told they had no jurisdiction on tournament activity, and that the community and sportsmen’s clubs have full control on their own regulation without any interference from the MNR.
He, as well as other conservative officers, quoted their displeasure on walleye tournaments, especially when resorting to live bait.
He was against the parade of the 10-boat finalists of a tournament as well as the lip swinging gesture to please the crowd. He also stressed a four-bass tournament amount would help their survival.
He stated fish in a live well for a considerable amount of time tend to soften in flesh texture, and stated in time the sorting of fish will be a thing of the past relating to choosing release or keeping them on ice.
As a beginner on guiding, I strung our fish on stringers for sorting and supposedly keeping them fresh and alive. But keeping them on the surface did soften the meat and released fish meant certain death.
We have been ignorant to this fact, and have been guilty of destruction of the fisheries.
We need to have the Ministry of Natural Resources in full control of the fisheries, including anglers, as well as tournament participants.
If the MNR cannot have full authority, who can save our fisheries? Surely not the community and management of the local sportsmen’s club.
Signed,
Mike Baranowski
Nestor Falls, Ont.

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