Junk science on fishing tackle ban slammed

The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, its 78,000 members, and 650 member clubs join their provincial and territorial affiliates across Canada in condemning the federal government attempts to ban certain types of fishing tackle based on junk science and questionable motives.
“For several years, the O.F.A.H. and others in the sport-fishing community have tried to work with the federal government to ensure that decisions on these issues are made on the basis of the best available science,” said Mike Reader, executive director of the O.F.A.H.
“Despite our best efforts, the government seems intent on plowing ahead with unsubstantiated and ill-advised recommendations that fail to consider all of the current scientific evidence, perhaps due in part to the previous minister’s belief that banning some types of fishing tackle was an easy target,” he added.
“Unfortunately, the government’s professed concern for the health of our waterfowl seems to ignore the existence of botulism type-e, which has been linked to the deaths of hundreds—and perhaps thousands—of loons and waterfowl on Lake Erie,” Reader charged.
“Instead of addressing this threat to wildlife, the government has widened its proposed ban of some smaller-sized lead sinkers to include a variety of fishing tackle including spoons, spinners, lures, and fishing reels that, by all accounts, will deliver a devastating blow to the sport-fishing industry and the more than eight million recreational anglers in Canada.”
According to a review undertaken by Statistics Canada in 2000, direct expenditures on recreational sport-fishing in Canada topped $3.5 billion. When travel arrangements, hotels, and food were factored in, that amount rose to more than $6.7 billion per year.
In 2000 alone, Canadian anglers devoted more than one million volunteer days to cleaning up habitat, running hatcheries, volunteer stocking programs, and other activities to enhance the aquatic environment.
For example, the provincial Community Fisheries Involvement Program (CFIP) combines fisheries management expertise, supplies, and equipment with publicly-initiated conservation and habitat programs that impact upon 370 fisheries projects involving 10,000 volunteers who donate 90,000 hours annually to conservation.
“For some unknown reason, recreational sport-fishing in Canada has been targeted by the federal government,” said Reader. “We have met repeatedly with the government and provided them with a multitude of major scientific studies that refute their findings.
“Their insistence on plowing ahead with this undermines the credibility of a ban that includes fishing tackle that has nothing to do with protecting the environment or particular waterfowl species,” he argued.
“Unfortunately, they have not been, and are not, listening, and the proposed ban is poised to destroy a multi-billion dollar industry that has been at the forefront of environmental protection and rehabilitation,” warned Reader.

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