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Manitoba Freshwater Fishery Enters MSC Assessment

Sustainability +1 more

CANADA - The Waterhen Lake walleye and northern pike commercial gillnet fishery has entered into independent, third-party assessment against the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) principles and criteria for sustainable and well-managed fisheries.

If successful, this will be the first fresh-water lake fishery in North America to achieve MSC certification.

The Waterhen Lake fishery is a winter fishery with gillnets set beneath the ice and is open when ice forms on or after November 1 to as late as March 31.

The commercial gillnet fishery operates on a Canadian inland freshwater lake known as Waterhen Lake, located in Manitoba, Canada. The assessment of the fishery will include all 22 commercial licensed fish harvesters operating on Waterhen Lake.

The assessment includes two units of certification defined by the two species fished in these waters. The lake is shallow, its average depth is 3.7 meters and it is approximately 34 kilometers long and 8 kilometers wide.

Commercial fishers of the Waterhen Lake Commercial Fishermen's Association confirm their support of efforts to achieve certification of the Waterhen Lake commercial gillnet fishery under the Marine Stewardship Council certification program.

Proceeding with the full assessment of the Waterhen Lake walleye and northern pike commercial gillnet fishery is an important step forward in the joint efforts of the province and commercial fishers to certify Manitobas commercial fisheries, said Gord Mackintosh, Minister of Conservation and Water Stewardship for Manitoba.

I want to commend the fishers of Waterhen Lake for their leadership and commitment to the sustainable management and operation of this important commercial fishery, as well as the Skownan First Nation and communities of Waterhen and Mallard for their support throughout this process.

"We fully support the work being done to explore the way forward to certification of lakes in the Province. The future of the freshwater fishery will depend on it," said John Wood, President and CEO of the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation.