PETERBOROUGH, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Mar 22, 2013) - The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) has partnered with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) to deliver the new Community Hatchery Program (CHP). The MNR will provide $250,000 annually over a three-year agreement for OFAH to deliver the CHP. The CHP will offer a more targeted approach to funding and technical support for Ontario's community hatcheries.
In Ontario, fish production for stocking purposes occurs at nine MNR hatcheries and many community-based fish hatcheries throughout the province. For decades, community hatcheries have enabled members of the public to actively participate in fish culture projects that stock millions of fish annually and provide direct benefits to Ontario's fishery resources. In the past, the MNR's Community Fisheries and Wildlife Involvement Program (CFWIP) has offered funding to community fish culture and stocking projects. The CHP will use the funds typically allocated to community fish hatcheries through CFWIP to provide a new delivery process and support system specifically for community fish culture and stocking projects. The remaining annual CFWIP funding ($300,000) will be offered through another new program, the Land Stewardship & Habitat Restoration Program (LSHRP), which will be administered by the MNR. Collectively, the new CHP and LSHRP will replace CFWIP as the government funding sources for community-based fish and wildlife projects in Ontario.
In addition to allocating funding, the new CHP will work directly with community hatcheries to provide better support and guidance for the successful rearing and stocking of fish. This will include assistance with obtaining the required permits, as well as support during the planning and operation of community hatcheries. The MNR will continue to be responsible for setting stocking targets, reviewing and issuing permits and licenses, providing eggs and fry, as well as brood stock and fish stocking locations.
"Fish stocking and community involvement are two incredibly important components of successful fisheries management in Ontario. Through the CHP, we have an opportunity to strengthen the community hatchery program in Ontario," said OFAH Executive Director Angelo Lombardo. "The OFAH has numerous long-standing and successful partnerships with the MNR, including the Ontario Hunter Education Program and the Invading Species Awareness Program. This new partnership will not only provide greater certainty and support for Ontario's community hatcheries themselves, but will also provide enormous ecological, social and economic benefits by helping to improve our fisheries."
The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters is Ontario's largest, nonprofit, fish and wildlife conservation-based organization, representing 100,000 members, subscribers and supporters, and 710 member clubs. To learn more, visit www.ofah.org. Like the OFAH on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.