At it’s meeting on March 7, 2017 Port Hope Council voted overwhelmingly to defer, for 1 year, a planned $40 fee for licensed anglers to fish from municipal lands abutting the Ganaraska River. Instead the matter will come back before Council in Spring 2018 for debate.
The rationale for the $40 fee stems from the fact that it cost Port Hope $19,965 last year to provide toilets, do regular clean ups of the shoreline and to have City police enforcing the fishing regulations.
At the Council meeting, many Councillors mentioned they get complaints from residents about the stink from discarded fish (i.e. fish that are illegally gutted for roe and left to rot). A few Councillors also mentioned they feel that there are too many anglers on the stretch of river that runs through town and this does not give the fish a sporting chance.The OFAH rightfully pointed out fishing regulations and fish stocks are a provincial matter (to date there is no indication that fish stocks are declining as a result of fishing activity in Port Hope…and if they were, that’s what the current fish stocking programs are meant to correct).
I think Port Hope Council was a little surprised by the opposition to the $40 access fee – of the communications received by the City, 42 were opposed to the pass, 10 people were in favour and 3 favoured the pass with the provision that local residents be exempt from paying.
Given that recreational angling is a big part of Port Hope’s tourism plan (it’s mentioned in all their brochures) , it was a bit surprising that Council didn’t seem to have a solid grasp as to the dollar value that recreational angling injects into the Port Hope economy (A recent study by Credit River Conservation suggested that recreational angling contributes at least $48 million to their economy).
In light of the strong opposition to the access fee, and the lack of solid information on the economic impact such a fee could have on angling tourism, Port Hope Council deferred a decision on the matter. The issue is scheduled to be back on the Council agenda again in Spring 2018. Hopefully by then Council will realize that their investment of $19,965 is a small price to pay when compared to the tourism dollars that recreational angling brings to their city