Port Hope, ON – The Municipality of Port Hope has issued a strong warning ahead of the upcoming salmon run in Port Hope.
“A zero-tolerance policy against all illegal and unethical fishing practices will be heavily enforced this fall”, stated Councillor Jeff Lees, Chair of Parks, Recreation and Culture.
Uniformed staff from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) and Port Hope Police Services will patrol the area regularly, and plain-clothed officers will also be in place to strictly enforce fishing regulations, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
“2015 was an exceptional year for the salmon run, bringing a record number of anglers to our community”, said Councillor Lees, “however, it was also one of the worst years we’ve ever seen in Port Hope for illegal fishing, and made for some gruesome sights along the river bank. The large numbers of fish carcasses discarded on a daily basis made maintenance of the area extremely challenging and costly for the Municipality, and showed great disrespect both for our community and the sport of fishing. Anglers are advised this zero-tolerance approach means there will be no further warnings issued. Those fishing outside the regulations will be prosecuted.”
“We’re sending the message loud and clear that our community welcomes anglers, but we won’t tolerate unethical or illegal fishing practices,” said Mayor Sanderson. “The Ganaraska River is an incredible asset to our community, and we will seek to protect it as best we can for the enjoyment of legitimate anglers and those who come to see the wondrous spectacle of the fish run.
“I think we’ve got a good plan in place to eradicate illegal fishing practices in Port Hope, but if this doesn’t work, Council will consider closing sections of the river to fishing during September, and we have support on that from our partners at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) and the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority (GRCA). This would of course be a last resort; however, we will do what is right for our community and for the protection of the river.”
Jim McCormack, Director of Parks, Recreation and Culture added, “We’ve been working over the past year with representatives from the MNRF, Port Hope Police Services, the GRCA and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) to implement a plan to substantially reduce illegal fishing within our community.
“Signage advising of our zero-tolerance policy has been printed in English, French and Mandarin, and posted at regular intervals along the river bank between the Barrett Street bridge and the Rotary Park footbridge. Our partners at the MNRF, OFAH and GRCA are also spreading the word amongst their networks to ensure this message is widely distributed to the angling community.”
“Responsible anglers adhere to the regulations and treat the resource with respect. Those individuals that harvest fish illegally, harvest over their limit or dispose of fish illegally give anglers a bad name. This situation is a perfect example of how the irresponsible behaviour of a small number of individuals can have significant long-term implications” stated Tom Brooke, Fisheries Biologist for the OFAH.
Brian Morrison, GRCA Fisheries Biologist added, “The Ganaraska River is an important watershed that contributes substantial numbers of naturally reproduced trout and salmon into the Lake Ontario system and fisheries. It is important that this watershed is protected to ensure these fisheries are able to thrive.”
If you see or suspect illegal fishing, please contact the Port Hope Police at 905.885.8123, or the MNRF Tip line at 1.877.847.7667.