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MPP fears fish limit changes may hurt regional tourism

Kenora-Rainy River’s MPP is upset with changes to fishing limits for non-Ontario residents in her riding.
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Kenora-Rainy River’s MPP is upset with changes to fishing limits for non-Ontario residents in her riding.

The change would reduce daily catch limits for tourists from four to two in Fisheries Management Zone 5, which includes Kenora, Dryden, Fort Frances and Atikokan.

“This move would drastically hurt camp owners’ ability to attract business and may even force some to close shop,” the NDP MPP said in Queen’s Park Tuesday.

Campbell said she understands the need to protect fish stocks, but that’s the job of the Ministry of Natural Resources.

But a former president of the Northern Tourist Outfitters Association supports the changes.

“I think we’ve grown as a community to realize tourism is more than just about fish limits. It’s about an experience,” said Bud Dickson.

The MNR understands good management practices and lakes are becoming healthier, said Dickson, adding that many camps have their own fishery policies.

“Those companies have grown,” he said. “The younger generation coming forth now understands this. I think it’s a great way to move forward.”

Dickson thinks the province has been too generous with fish limits in the past and that these changes won’t hurt the tourism industry in the zone 5; the short-term pain will be outweighed by the long-term gain.