NWOTA set to host fisheries symposium

The state of the area’s fishery and other issues will be discussed over two days next week at the Fort Frances Curling Club, and everyone’s invited to attend.
“We hope people can come out and participate,” said Tom Pearson, president of the North Western Ontario Tourism Association, which is organizing the seminars.
“I’m sure more things will pop up during the course of the meetings,” he added.
A fisheries conservation symposium, featuring Ministry of Natural Resources reps from across Northwestern Ontario, is slated next Thursday (Oct. 31) starting at 9 a.m.
“All everyone’s been hearing is the negative things about the fishery,” said Pearson. “Here’s our chance to tell some real positive stories that show the fishery, in terms of stocks and the way they’re being managed, is heading in the right direction.”
Sporting the theme “Managing for a Sustainable Harvest,” the symposium will open with remarks by NWOTA director Geoff Gillon, followed by Linda Wall, the MNR’s area supervisor for Rainy Lake, presenting information on the Pipestone-Despair chain from 9:15-11 a.m.
She’ll be followed by Michelle Robinson analyzing the completed work and future plans for the Lac Seul district fishery from 11:10 a.m.-noon.
Following a lunch break featuring renowned angler Gord Pyzer as guest speaker, local MNR biologist Darryl McLeod will share information on the Rainy Lake fishery, which Pearson calls “the success story of Northwestern Ontario,” from 1-1:50 p.m.
The day will wrap up with Tom Mosindy examining lake trout restoration during an overview of the Whitefish Bay region from 2-2:50 p.m., Bruce Mighton discussing the Cedar River watershed (3-3:50 p.m.), and Kim Armstrong reviewing the entire region’s fishery status (4-4:50 p.m.).
Admission for the public is $10, with a portion of the proceeds going towards the NWOTA’s research fund, which is set aside for special studies, habitat rehabilitation, and future symposiums.
Tickets are available from Pinewood Sports and Marine in Fort Frances, Hanson’s Wilderness Lodges in Nestor Falls, Helliar’s Resort in Nestor Falls, NWOTA director Jim Rebbetoy, and the NWOTA office.
Fall meeting
The Fort Frances Curling Club also will be the venue for NWOTA’s annual fall meeting and banquet the following day (Nov. 1).
After a members-only meeting from 8:30-10:30 a.m., the public can take part in a debate on border crossing issues from 10:45 a.m.-12 p.m.
“Things are getting a little better, but we’re still having problems,” Pearson said about U.S. travellers coming into Canada.
“We’re still getting negative feedback from people being turned away from crossing the border because of old minor infractions,” he remarked.
The Rainy River Future Development Corp. and a review of a regional survey of electronic commerce also will be topics during the morning session.
The Rainy River First Nations land claim will be discussed from 1-2:30 p.m., as well as tourism licensing.
Then the 2:45-4:30 p.m. session will feature a review of the study on the proposed Fort Frances Sport Fishing Centre, and a speech by NDP leader and local MPP Howard Hampton.
A social hour and dinner will run from 5-7 p.m., followed by “Chicken Soup for the Entrepreneur’s Soul”—a look at success for strategies for business owners by Barry Spilchuk.
The evening will wrap up with a dance, featuring “Milestone,” from 8:30 p.m.-1 a.m.
Tickets for the banquet/dance cost $40 each or $75 per couple. They are available at Pinewood Sports and Marine as well as the Fort Frances Times.