Proposed senior sport fishing licenses not sitting well with locals

By Ron Giofu

 

Proposed sport fishing and conservation licenses for seniors is not sitting well locally.

Seniors may have to pay anywhere from $20-$30 annually depending on whether they want a sport fishing or conservation license and local fisherman Chris Drew believes it could “hurt everybody” if the imposition of such a fee ever became reality. Drew believes more and more seniors would just not fish if such licence fees had to be obtained.

“I don’t think it’s right,” said Drew. “It’s just a money grab.”

Drew believes the Ministry of Natural Resources has been underfunded by the provincial government, which impacts the entire province.

The proposed senior sport fishing and conservation licenses are just a start, Drew added, and encouraged people to e-mail or write letters to the ministry or their local MPP.

“They are looking for revenue and it’s going to be on the backs of the hunters and anglers,” he stated. “This is just the tip of the iceberg.”

According to MNR communications officer Joshua Henry, “participation rates in hunting and fishing are declining due to demographics, settlement patterns, the economy and proliferation of choices in outdoor recreation. As a result, Ontario is seeing a drop in the amount of fish and wildlife licence revenue that directly supports fish and wildlife management.”

Henry said this revenue reduction is not just happening in Ontario, stating several areas in Canada and the United States are experiencing similar trends.

“The Ontario government is looking at ways it can increase revenue and attract participants, while continuing to manage these resources for all to enjoy,” said Henry. “The ministry has met with stakeholders and undertook a consumer research survey to inform a draft strategy to help us reach our goals.”

The proposed seniors fishing licence “would be offered at a discounted price and is consistent with other types of government services, such as reduced camping and day-use fees for seniors at Ontario’s provincial parks,” Henry stated.

Henry added: “The draft strategy was posted for public comment on the Environmental Registry beginning April 16, 2014 for 45 days. Comments are currently being reviewed.”

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