NEW DEDICATED FUNDING WOULD PROTECT AND INCREASE MANITOBA FISH AND WILDLIFE POPULATIONS
– – – Sustainable Populations Mean Expanded Sporting Opportunities: Mackintosh
More Manitoba families will have the opportunity to celebrate and explore the province’s rich hunting and fishing tradition thanks to new legislation which would establish a dedicated fund that supports fisheries and wildlife management projects, Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh announced today.
“I cherish the abundance of fish and wildlife in our province and I want to make sure we are doing all we can to enhance their habitat and populations now, before they become more rare and costly to protect,” said Mackintosh. “This legislation builds on the longstanding Fisheries Enhancement Fund and sets in law dedicated support for fish and wildlife projects.”
Projects and studies that conserve, enhance, manage and increase fish and wildlife populations and their habitat would be eligible to receive grants from the fund. Under the new legislation, fish and wildlife committees would be created, made up of representatives from fishing, hunting and trapping organizations. These committees would review project proposals and make funding recommendations to the minister of conservation and water stewardship.
“Today’s announcement provides the groundwork for an important step forward in conservation,” said Carolyn Kosheluk, program manager with the Manitoba Wildlife Federation. “The Manitoba Wildlife Federation looks forward to learning more as this concept takes form, and will pursue the opportunity to participate in every level of this initiative.”
Financial support for the fund would come from levies added to hunting, trapping and fishing licences. The minister noted every dollar raised from the levies would go into the fund. Other sources of funds, including bequests, could also be used to support the fund. Similar legislation is in place in other jurisdictions including Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Saskatchewan.
“I am very pleased to see that the government is continuing to evolve the Fisheries Enhancement Fund in a way that will accelerate the project review and funding process,” said David Carrick, founder and past president of Fish Futures. “This legislation ensures continued meaningful involvement of stakeholders representing anglers and I am also very pleased that the bill expressly contemplates the creation of a stable and significant ongoing source of funding for Manitoba’s hatcheries. I look forward to working with the government to implement this new legislation for the benefit of Manitoba’s fisheries.”
The license levies that would contribute to the new fund would be determined in consultation with stakeholder groups and would keep Manitoba one of the most affordable places to hunt, fish and trap in the country, the minister said.
“I have listened to the calls from stakeholder organizations asking for a way to introduce dedicated funding for fish and wildlife management in this province,” said Mackintosh. “I am very pleased we will be working with these partners to responsibly manage our natural resources for the future.”
The minister noted the proposed creation of the fund is part ofTomorrowNow – Manitoba’s Green Plan, an eight-year strategic plan for protecting the environment while ensuring a prosperous economy.