THUNDER BAY — John Kaplanis says "it's an honour" to lead a new provincial advisory body that will review moose-hunting quotas and tag allocations.
Kaplanis will serve as chair of the Big Game Management Advisory Committee announced last week by Natural Resources and Forestry Minister John Yakabuski.
The Thunder Bay resident is also the executive-director of the Northwestern Ontario Sportsmen's Alliance, a group that has sharply criticized the MNRF for "inconsistent" and overly cautious moose management and tag allocation processes.
In a media release, Kaplanis said the ministry has used "creative math" to over-estimate the previous year's moose harvest, "thus forcing the moose harvest allocation formula to generate fewer adult tags" for resident hunters in northwestern Ontario.
"Despite a large increase in moose tags for rifle hunters in Wildlife Management Unit 15B [north of Thunder Bay and west of Lake Nipigon] due to a moose population survey that revealed very encouraging numbers...many other WMUs with increasing or stabilizing moose populations are still not being afforded the hunting opportunities that they should be," the statement said.
In an interview Monday, Kaplanis told Tbnewswatch he was approached by Minister Yakabuski directly to lead the new committee.
"The difference between this committee and former ones is that it is responsible to give feedback and recommendations directly to the minister himself. Previously, recommendations went to the wildlife branch within the MNRF. That in itself makes the ministry agencies at the wildlife level more accountable. I think that's a positive thing," he said.
Kaplanis feels he and the other committee members can offer valuable insight that will lead to improvements in moose management.
"We have a lot of experience hunting over the years, and are familiar with the landscape of the north. We have a feel for what we need to do in terms of wildlife management. Certainly I take that very seriously."
Kaplanis described moose hunter satisfaction with the province's current management program as being at an all-time low.
"Number one, they are not satisfied with the number of tags they are getting," he said, adding that management practices also need to be tailored better to the health of the moose herd in specific WMUs.
In units where the population is in decline, "we need to see more intensive management practices. But in areas where the herd is healthy, we'd like the ministry to recognize that more moose hunting opportunities should be afforded there."
Kaplanis pointed to the economic value of hunting, which he said generates "millions of dollars in revenue that, in the end, goes back into moose management and conservation. It's very important to maintain that."
His eight-member committee includes two other Thunder Bay residents, Elford Wiens and Glenn Rivard, as well as Fern Duquette of Atikokan and Bradley Greaves from Ignace.
Please see attached. This should make for some interesting discussions as the potential of increased activity on the lake trout fishery is there.
The Greenwater Road has been closed by the MNRF and a sign was place in 2013 restricting access.
Its use and maintenance are managed through UMS# TB-012. It states that the Greenwater Road will provide access to private property on Greenwater Lake through written authorization by the MNRF. It states that this road is intended for mineral exploration and for the use by the current private property owner and his immediate family only.
The private property owner is now asking the MNRF for an amendment to UMS# TB-012 that would allow any future registered owners and family, as well as friends accompanied by owners, to have access beyond the closure point.
The effect of this proposed amendment would be to allow increased use of the Greenwater Road, in the event that the current private property owner sells the property or portions of it. This would give any future purchaser(s) confidence that they may obtain written approval from the MNRF to access their property via the Greenwater Road.
NOSA responds to Moose Tag Allocations cut for Northwest Region Wildlife Management Units
Thunder Bay - The office of the Northwester Ontario Sportsmen's Alliance(NOSA) is citing inconsistent moose management policy as one of the key reasons for yet another large cut to moose tags for the region. NOSA Executive Director John Kaplanis is blaming the Northwest Regional office of OMNRF for signing off on the decisions to cut tags in this manner.
NOSA is citing OMNRF's over estimated harvest calculations in the formula as one of the primary contributors to seeing tags reduced so drastically in many wildlife management units(WMU's), therefore as a "fail safe" measure OMNRF is simply knocking back the adult moose tag allocations to a level that basically brings moose hunting to a near stand still in many WMU's. For example in WMU 13 around the city of Thunder Bay, only one resident bull archery tag is being allocated for the 2018 fall moose hunting season. NOSA believes that tag reductions such as this are simply a demonstration on the part of OMNRF to "punish" moose hunters for not participating in a voluntary moose hunter "post card survey" in recent years.
NOSA Exec. Director John Kaplanis claims this to be a "juvenile" move on the part of OMNRF here in the region when in fact this sort of practice does not occur in other regions such as the Northeast or southern region of OMNRF. He says, "basically it's one guy in their office who decides that he's going to fudge the numbers just a little bit, but by doing so it is enough to change the outcomes in their formula for calculating tag allocations and therefore this has caused a net reduction of almost 1000 tags across the entire Northwest Region."
Normally in the past, when moose tags are being calculated in between years of Moose Aerial Inventories (MAIs) the tag allocations would be held at status quo for usually no more than a 3 year cycle to determine trends in population dynamics and to determine if harvest management strategies are working. NOSA claims that in the Northwest Region OMNRF appears to have adopted a management cycle from year to year and this is not consistent with how other regional jurisdictions within OMNRF are operating.
NOSA wishes to point out that OMNRF's moose management policies also contain direction for maintaining moose hunting opportunities in order to therefore recognize and support the value of the socio-economic side of moose hunting. Moose hunting is a major economic contributor to many northern communities. Kaplanis believes OMNRF is not doing more to protect and sustain moose hunting opportunities in the region and as a result, moose hunter confidence is down, participation by moose hunters in the "post card hunter survey" is also down because of this. Furthermore, the Fish and Wildlife fund known as the Special Purpose Account (SPA) is suffering because of the large numbers of moose hunters who have dropped out of the activity in the past 3 years. OMNRF does not seem to be concerned that it is losing millions of dollars in revenue as a result of this.
NOSA has previously requested that OMNRF conduct a full review of the moose management practices by the Northwest Regional office, but this has fallen on deaf ears within the confines of the current provincial government.
Every year, a number of natural resource violation cases go unsolved. They can be difficult to solve because they happen in remote areas where there are few eyewitnesses.
Our conservation officers make over 170,000 contacts with citizens in the field each year. We rely on tips from the public, physical evidence and community support to help solve these cases. You can visit the website at: https://www.ontario.ca/page/solve-natural-resource-case#section-2 for more information. Help us solve natural resource violation cases. Call MNRF TIPS if you have any information at 1-877-847-7667.
Recent unsolved cases
As you are aware, the Draft Strategic Policy for Bait Management in Ontario is currently posted on the Environmental Registry (www.ebr.gov.on.ca) (#012-9791). The comment period is open from February 27-June 27, 2017.
As part of the consultation period we have scheduled a number of information sessions across the province to explain and clarify what is being proposed and answer any questions that stakeholders may have on the draft policy. We will be having three types of sessions: 1) combined industry/stakeholder sessions; 2) Public open houses in the evenings; and 3) Indigenous sessions
The session dates and locations are as follows:
Stakeholder information sessions will be held in the following locations:
Location Date Time Address
Sudbury May 24 9am-12pm Lexington Hotel, 50 Brady St., Sudbury
Timmins May 25 2-5pm Ramada Inn, 1800 Riverside Dr., Timmins
Kingston May 29 2-5pm Ramada Kingston Hotel 33 Benson St., Kingston
London June 8 2-5pm Best Western Plus Lamplighter Inn, 591 Wellington Rd, South, London
Thunder Bay June 13 9am-12pm Valhalla Inn Hotel, 1 Valhalla Inn Road, Thunder Bay
Kenora June 15 9am-12pm Clarion Lakeside Inn, 470 1st Avenue South, Kenora
In addition to the stakeholder information sessions, MNRF will also be providing public open houses, at the locations and times outlined below. These open house sessions will be relatively informal with MNRF staff being available for one-on-one discussions to answer any questions that individuals may have.
Public open houses will be held in the following locations:
Location Date Time Location
Sudbury May 23 6:30-9:00pm Lexington Hotel, 50 Brady St., Sudbury
Timmins May 25 6:30-9:00pm Ramada Inn, 1800 Riverside Dr., Timmins
Kingston May 29 6:30-9:00pm Ramada Kingston Hotel, 33 Benson St., Kingston
London June 8 6:30-9:00pm Best Western Plus Lamplighter Inn, 591 Wellington Rd, South, London
Thunder Bay June 12 6:30-9:00pm Valhalla Inn Hotel, 1 Valhalla Inn Road, Thunder Bay
Kenora June 15 6:30-9:00pm Clarion Lakeside Inn, 470 1st Avenue South, Kenora
Once again we encourage all stakeholders to review this posting and either submit comments through the Environmental Registry (www.ebr.gov.on.ca; #012-9791).
If you have any questions regarding the proposed policy or the provincial bait policy review process, please contact Scott Gibson (Senior Fisheries Biologist) at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 705-755-5395.
Public input required for the Draft White-tailed Deer Management Policy for Ontario. The comment period ends on May 4th, 2017
Please visit the links below:
Draft Policy ; http://apps.mnr.gov.on.ca/public/files/er/white-tailed-deer-eng.pdf
The Strategic Policy for Bait Management in Ontario is now on the Environmental Registry for a 120 day public review and comment period. This should make for good discussions. Here is one of the recommendations that is in the Policy.
"Anglers would be required to retain the receipt in their possession for two weeks in order to demonstrate that the bait was purchased within the respective BMZ within the previous two weeks. Anglers would be required to use or lawfully dispose of all commercially harvested bait within two weeks of purchase"
Click on EBR link below:
Click on the link to listen to Johns interview with Outdoor Journal Radio
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is proposing the partial removal of a decades-old dam in Black Sturgeon River Provincial Park north of Thunder Bay.
It's part of a series of possible amendments to the park plan outlined in a draft environmental study report now open for public inspection.
The study was prepared by an independent consultant and assessed various options for rehabilitating walleye and lake sturgeon populations, while continuing to provide sea lamprey control.
Camp 43 dam was built around 1960 for logging purposes, and played a role in keeping the lamprey population down in Lake Superior. However, it also cut off spawning areas for fish species such as walleye.
The Black Sturgeon River flows into Black Bay, which once had the largest population of walleye in Lake Superior, supporting what the government describes as "sizable" commercial and recreational fisheries. Due to a combination of factors, the walleye population collapsed in 1968.
A document filed with the province's Environmental Registry states that spawning habitat is limited in Black Bay, and that the remnant walleye stock spawns in the river. "Providing fish access to naturally occurring habitat is considered essential for the large scale rehabilitation of the native fish community in Black Bay and the Black Sturgeon River," the document notes.
The environmental study considered the effects of five alternatives and resulted in a preferred option.
A public notice states that in addition to partially removing the dam, the preferred plan includes the construction of a "multipurpose" sea lamprey barrier farther upstream, at the outlet of Eskwanonwatin Lake.
A spokesperson for the MNRF told tbnewswatch.com that the 53-metre-long dam no longer meets dam safety requirements. It consists of three sluice gates controlled by stop logs, and a weir. The gates are situated between concrete piers.
Under the proposed changes, MNRF says the piers would remain in place but the sluiceway concrete aprons would be removed to open the river system to fish movement and to reconnect a large portion of the river system to Black Bay.
The report is available for public viewing at the Waverley and Brodie libraries and at the Nipigon library.
The MNRF will also hold two open houses, in Nipigon on January 31 at the Curling Club 3-7 pm and in Thunder Bay on February 2 at the Oliver Rd Community Centre 3-7 pm.
Here is the EBR posting with link to the current Draft Environmental Study Report and appropriate contact information.
The Northwestern Ontario Sportsmen’s Alliance will host its 2016 annual general membership meeting on June 22nd at the Westfort Prosvita Hall/Gore street at 700pm. The meeting is open to all “paid in full” members of NOSA. Specifics of
agenda items will be announced that evening, along with election of new directors.
There will be an open forum for members and new business items can be introduced at this time.
For further specifics on meeting details, please contact John Kaplanis
via email at: email@example.com or by text at 807-624-6143.