If you only read a few things about the Lake Nipissing fishery…

gillnetting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s get “a few” things straight.

There are a few individuals who are getting it wrong when it comes to the issues surrounding the Lake Nipissing fishery. There are a few on the Nbisiing side, a few on the opposing side, and a few more smack dab in the middle of the controversy.

  • There are a few – I’ll stress again – a few, Nbisiing harvesters who are illegally disobeying our self-imposed moratorium and community regulations on spring gill netting and spearing.
  • There are a few – I’ll stress again – a few Nbisiing harvesters who are losing their nets, are too lazy to go and get them, or forget about them in a fitful stupor of stupidity. We’ll refer to this problem as ghost nets.
  • There are a few – I’ll stress again – a few Nbisiing harvesters who are wasting perfectly good fish and not taking the care and consideration to reduce their by-catch waste and honour the fishlife that is provided to us by our Lake. They are making a mess of our back roads and garbage dump and upsetting a few petty anglers dedicated to spewing their agendas of hate.

Speaking to you directly: You are selfish and doing a great job at making us all look bad. You don’t deserve to fish. You’re reducing your Aboriginal and Treaty Rights to a few bucks at the expense of everyone else. You’re an embarrassment to our people.

  • There are a few of us – I’ll stress again – a few, Nbisiing people that want the commercial fishery shut down entirely until our Lake and the walleye regain their health. The number may only be a few, but that number is growing more and more everyday.

To other matters.

  • There are a few – I’ll stress again – a few, media outlets who seem dedicated to feeding the monster of intolerance, growing a biased and racist readership and doing absolutely NOTHING to make the situation better.

Almost single-handedly, the local media have created a firestorm of racial intolerance that I haven’t seen the likes of in my lifetime. On one side, Nbisiing citizens defending their rights and dignity from the onslaught of negative media and social media comments. On the other side, readers and commentators who “think” they know something about these issues, or claim to have an informed opinion.

These media outlets continue to allow social media forums to disseminate uneducated and racially-divisive “opinions” about matters concerning inalienable legal rights.  One might argue that these forums border on inciting hate.

Some advice on your social media feeds and comments section: shut them down or moderate them. Play a role in educating your readers. Don’t just shrug your shoulders and let these types of divisive discussions and repulsive “opinions” linger in the name of free speech. People have a right to free speech, not advocate the elimination of legal rights, or promote racism and intolerance.

  • There are a few – I’ll stress again – a few, media and social media readers and commenters who don’t know what the heck they are talking about when it comes to the Lake Nipissing fishery and the rights of the Nbisiing people.  They don’t realize that their so-called “opinions” shows a complete and ignorant lack of knowledge, and an intolerance to learning the facts about Aboriginal and Treaty Rights.

Let’s clear a few things up.  Nipissing First Nation is a sovereign nation. That sovereignty was not given up in the Treaties. With that sovereignty comes a set of rights and responsibilities as well as laws and regulations governing our people.  One of these rights is the Treaty and Aboriginal right to fish in Lake Nipissing. Even the offenders who I’ve written about above, have that same right. But this right is a collective right and not to be confused with some individualistic right to rape and pillage the Lake at the expense of our nation.

Moreover, with a great right comes great responsibility. We have a right to regulate ourselves and the commercial fishery to ensure conservation and the ultimate health of the Lake.

A singular message to the “ban gill-nets” people: gill-netting cannot be “banned” except by our own regulation. Period.  The right to fish is a constitutionally-protected legal right arising from the Treaties. This fact has been tried, tested and true by the Supreme Court of Canada, the highest court in the land.

The Treaties were the source of indigenous nations giving rights to Canada, and their descendants – not the other way around. If it weren’t for the Treaties, there would be no forestry or mining. There would be no resource economy. There would be no Crown land, municipal land or private land ownership. Nor would there be a sport fishery, angling, or tourist economy. These are the rights the settlers and residents received when Nbisiing signed the Treaties with Canada.

Legal rights should be respected not debated. No matter whose legal rights they are.

  • Yet, there are a few – I’ll say again – a few, who continue to openly write to advocate the taking away of Anishinaabek legal rights. This shows a complete ignorant, lack of knowledge and intolerance to learning the facts about Aboriginal and Treaty Rights.

You’re constantly writing about “natives” this… and “natives” that.  You don’t write about solutions, perspectives or understanding, you write about blame, blame and more blame of an entire nation of people.  And you disguise this as an opinion.  When you use the broad brush of intolerance, you also paint our children, our Elders and non-harvesters.  You also point the finger of intolerance at the Anishinaabe man and woman just getting his coffee from Tim Hortons or picking up The Nugget at the corner store.

The final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) has states that Canadians need to better understand indigenous people. This includes our ways of life (i.e. gill netting and spearing), why our nation has these legal rights (because of the Treaties) and that our nation and our citizens have, and always will have these rights.

That’s right. Our nation and our citizens have, and always will have Aboriginal and Treaty Rights.

Just a little fitful message to leave you with on this lovely Friday night.  Our people are always told: “well, can’t you just get over it?” when it comes to Aboriginal issues, residential schools, land claims and addressing the wrongs of the past.

Well, right back at you. Can’t you just get over the fact that we have and always will have these rights?

It can’t be that simple or obtuse.

We all need to work together to find a cooperative solution to improving the health of Lake Nipissing.  We need to learn more about each other’s perspectives.  Whether it’s the perspectives of anglers, lodges and outfitters, or the perspectives of the Nbisiing people.  We can’t just dig out heels in and come out swinging.  This mess isn’t going to be fixed by the MNR, it’s going to be fixed by all people, native and non-native alike, through regulation, conservation, cooperation and understanding.

email

27 Comments

  1. David Narlock says:

    Thank you Bob, I don’t fish but occasionally and
    I do enjoy a good Pickerel meal and I do hope as you say that common sense will prevail.

  2. Jamie says:

    Sorry Bob. Your “opinion” is just that. An opinion.
    13 Ghost nets are not a “few”
    Besides that. Can you tell me how the Pike, or Muskee population are doing? Can, you explain why there are deformed fish? Can you explain why we have Blue Green algea?
    It seems to me you are trying to distract everyone from the real issues. We are done restocking walleye. We want the other fished restocked. The “Garbage Fish” We want those species saved.
    And please keep in mind, we don’t lay blame on the NFN. We lay blame on the promise breakers, the people that turn a blind eye. Whether those people are white, black, orange, brown or green. We want what is best for OUR Lake. I am glad social Media had brought certain issues to the for front. How do you get your word out? The same way we do. The same way you condone in your “opinionated” article.
    We are here to save the Lake. What have you done?
    Oh, the money that I spend on my fishing license, goes towards restocking the walleye in that lake. The same lake that 10 years ago I could keep 7 walleye, now lucky if I can get 2. So, why would anyone want to continue supporting that? The system is broken. But, we will try and save it. With or without you

    • Frank Hardy (Tunny) says:

      Hi Jamie
      You should ask the Local MNR in North Bay or Anishinaabek/Ontario Fisheries Resource Centre to show the numbers of walleye harvested between anglers and the commercial fishery, say in the last 20 years, I think you might be amazed at these numbers.

    • Bob Goulais says:

      May I kindly suggest being positive about your agenda and work with our peole rather than working from a place of anger. You bring up a really good point about ghost nets. I stand by my “opinion” that there are only a few Nbisiing people responsible for ghost nets. Another fact that you may not be aware of is that some of our nets are being purposefully cut from their markers. Whether it’s someone who thinks they’re helping rid the lake of gill nets or they are purposely trying to push the aforementioned agenda of hate by ensuring the blame comes to our people. It’s so wrong and harmful. Myself, I’m not going to assess blame but continue to raise the issue among our people just as you do. Miigwetch (thank you) or your thoughtful comment.

      • Billy Bob says:

        Bob, it seems to me as if you ask for cooperation from others (ie. when you said “work with our people”). Yet, you fail to be cooperative yourself.

        For example, it is not very cooperative of you to maintain that 13 ghosts nets are a “few” (3 is a few, 13 is not), and it is this rhetorical/fallacious behaviour that misinforms many people. A person with an audience such as yourself should be more careful with how you project your opinions. So rather than misrepresenting the facts to broker your message and to persuade your audience (like you have blamed others for: “blame of an entire nation of people. And you disguise this as an opinion “) – why don’t you level with us by scraping the loaded arguments and presumptions. To me, this would be much more cooperative.

        And to achieve this form of cooperation, we’re going to have to agree at some point. But unfortunately I cannot agree with “opinions” that are not accompanied by some form of support – which you have failed to provide. For this reason, I prefer to use the word “speculation” when I describe your article.

        Off hand, I’m particularly interested in a few things…
        (1) if this is a mere opinion piece, why should any of us agree with you? Your misguided judgement on “a few” has caused me to question the validity of your opinions/arguments, and im not sure why I should believe the rest of it. Shall I just take your word?
        (2) You criticize other media outlets for opinions and rant that they are doing nothing to make the situation better. Meaning, your provide an opinion (*****speculation) AND have effectively done nothing to better the situation. What makes this media (your article specifically) any better? Is this hypocrisy?
        (3) You’ve also created a divide between our cultures, and I can sense your own racism. For example, you say that “on one side there’s nipising rights, and on on the other side there’s commentators who think they know something about these issues”. 2 problems here – a. It is this “us and them” behaviour that is causing social/ethnic contention within and outside of Nipissing area. b. You refer to aboriginal people as those who have rights, while others (“on the other side”) – are just uneducated people???? This is not a matter of fact, and I suspect you no longer stand behind these comments as it is not very forthcoming of yourself and does not advance your agenda. Which is funny, because you even you argue that one must “have a role in educating their readers”…
        (4) In what regard are you using the word “sovereignty”? Because to me, you are implying that NFN is a sovereign nation, meaning that they are some how autonomous and/or self controlling? If this is so- can you please direct me to the proper documentation to solidify this argument? Because to my knowledge there is a supremacy clause within the Canadian Constitution Act, 1982, Sec. 52(1) which states that, “The Constitution of Canada is the supreme law of Canada, and any law that is inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution is, to the extent of the inconsistency, of no force or effect.” Please correct my error.
        (5) Dont make presumptuous claims such as “if there were not treaties, there would be no crown land, mining, private land ownership” etc… can you provide the proper documentation to validify these points? or again, are we throwing darts at a board with a blindfold on?
        (6) “legal rights should be respected and not debated”………… wait…. what? LEGAL RIGHTS SHOULD BE RESPECTED AAAAND DEBATED. Debate is fundamental to our society and if effectively executed, is also productive!

        ……………………etc. The fact of the matter is that although this article is inspiring to many, is is incredibly loaded and is in complete contradiction of itself.

        I encourage other readers to exercise caution while reading “opinions” (****speculation) such as this, and to critically think about the message that is being delivered.

        Best regards,

        • Bob Goulais says:

          Thank you, Billy Bob for your comment. Yes, I may describe my post as an opinion but it is truly an informed one. I know this because I work in Aboriginal Affairs for a living and have been working around these issues for many years. However, your tone and message are precisely what I am talking about. You are careful not to say too much, perhaps it’s a fear of being branded. Nevertheless, your distain of our people and our legal rights are quite evident. Yes, caution should be exercised by the reader. But it’s pretty clear what message we should steer clear of.

          • Billy Bob says:

            Thank you for your reply Bob.

            But the fact that you work with or for aboriginal affairs does not necessarily constitute any validity to a self proclamation of being “informed”. Again, this is faulty logic as you transition from one idea to another, without sufficient information or evidence to warrant that move.

            And you are right, I have purposely refrained from “saying too much” (ie. I have tried to avoid identifying my ethnicity, socioeconomic standing, identity etc to some extent). Whether this has been effective or not, I’ve nonetheless done it so to assure my objectivity while dealing with the information at hand.

            I would like you to know that there is no disdain. The fact that we can have this conversation goes to show that you and I are both considering each others positions.

            Where we disagree, I believe, is in our standard of proof. I ground (or try to) my beliefs on empirical/ tangible evidence. And even when I cannot, I still try to support what im saying with some sort of proof. However, you continue to make claims without supporting anything you’re saying. Whether all or some of your comments are true, I do not know.

            For this reason i’ve asked, and am asking, for you to direct me to legitimate sources that will help me better understand where you are coming from.

            Again, why this frustrates me is because you have a large audience, and so many people do not exercise caution while reading opinion articles. I felt as if your post was to some degree formal, and I would hate for anybody else to mistake it as factual (which is what I consider it until i’m sourced to your foregoing provisions/rights youve discussed within treatise, and also corresponding legislation/recognition from the Canadian government)

            Until then,

            adios!

          • Bob Goulais says:

            Our sovereignty is not legislative-based like it is in the US. It’s an assertion based on the fact that our sovereignty was not ceded in the Treaties. You won’t find it written anywhere that First Nations agreed to be a part of Canada or that we surrendered our inherent jurisdiction.

            Our First Nation has passed our Gchi-naaknigewin (http://www.nfn.ca/documents/constitution/nfn_constitution_final_august_8_2013.pdf) which we recognize as the highest law in our lands.

            There is so much reading on Aboriginal law out there. Please feel free to Google it. There are many firms that specialize in Aboriginal law and many universities that have substantial research, collections and academic programs. But I suggest you start with the final report from the TRC (http://www.trc.ca/websites/trcinstitution/index.php?p=890).

            Treaties are the fundamental basis of the idea that is Canada. The British Crown didn’t just come in and invade North America. It all started with noble intentions and a declaration (http://indigenousfoundations.arts.ubc.ca/home/government-policy/royal-proclamation-1763.html) that indigenous lands cannot be arbitrarily taken without treaties. That’s how the treaty-making era began. Over the years, lands were ceded by First Nations in exchange for money, health care, education and the right to continue harvesting as we always have. The treaty in our area is the 1850 Robinson Huron Treaty.

            You’ll find throughout history that basic facts about indigenous sovereignty and rights have been fundamentally altered and characterized unfairly for decades. After a while, people didn’t respect indigenous nations or our culture. The Indian Act was imposed on our people as a means of control by government. Lands were unfairly sold or taken away. Then our children began to be taken away in acts so heinous that John A. MacDonald described it as “killing the Indian in the child”. More and more decades go by, and people just neglected indigenous nations, our rights and assertions. Fast forward to the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, when the Supreme Court has reaffirmed these rights through a number of important case law. These rights have been reinforced by the Constitution Act Sec. 35 and by Supreme Court decisions such as R. v. Sparrow (https://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/609/index.do).

            Sure our laws may not hold up in court but they govern OUR actions. Or at least they should. The biggest problem is our harvesters who ignore our own laws.

            That’s why it has to be up to us, the choices of our fisherman, to be regulated. It’s can’t be forced on us. We all have to make the right choice. But that choice has to come down to respect, not heavy-handedness or arbitrary action by government. There has been far too much of that for over 150 years.

            My bigger point is individuals, all Canadians need to know this stuff and understand the perspectives of our people. Fortunately, developing curriculum about these very subjects are a key recommendation in the TRC report. Nobody knows the sad history of this country and how they treated First Nations people. Nobody knows where these legal rights come from. I’m not making this up. In order for us to all be on the same page, understanding needs to happen. In order for solutions about Lake Nipissing to be effective, understanding and cooperation needs to happen.

            I hope this helps.

          • Billy Bob says:

            In response to – Bob Goulais says: June 15, 2015 at 4:52 pm



            Again, thank you for taking the time to share this information with me. You have provided me with a lot of information within your last comment.

            You bring up great philosophical points. For instance, you say that I cannot find written documentation of FN submitting or surrendering to a Canadian government.

            My question is this: must a one surrender to a government for a government to be a government?

            to me, your position seems to be yes – and that if a particular group or nation within a state does not consent to the legitimacy of the government of that state, then that government does not exist.

            In academics this position is often referred to as – consent of the governed.

            “In political philosophy, the phrase consent of the governed refers to the idea that a government’s legitimacy and moral right to use state power is only justified and legal when consented to by the people or society over which that political power is exercised.”

            However, there are inherent faults to this position. off hand I can think of two philosophers who may add insight.

            in the shortest and most simple form possible – the first is Rousseau. He was largely influential to the social contract theory, where he argues that governments derive their sovereignty from agreements/contracts with individuals. And so long as the majority of citizens/individuals (nations, with regards to our context) are in contact with the government, then that government is legitimized by the majority.

            The second is HLA Hart, who argues that some laws/aspects of government are duty imposing to the individual. Meaning that, laws are laws whether or not we recognize/ consent to the obligations that arise thereof.

            Nonetheless, there are a series of respected philosophers who believe government is external to individual consent of a nation. My point is that perhaps there are contentions within the statement that “we did not agree to this”….. because quite frankly, it is not clear cut that we must.

          • Bob Goulais says:

            Our history tell us that when Anishinaabeg signed the treaties it was done in the spirit of sharing. We had no concept of what ceded territory was or even what land ownership meant. It was entirely foreign. Our ancestors certainly never thought sharing the land would come to our nations being subservient to the Crown.

            Our clan system of government and our Confederacy law does not have a process of enfranchisement nor did we ever consent to being governed by another nation. Any implied consent (i.e. consent of the governed) was imposed through the Indian Act. There are some nations in Canada who would only submit to being governed at RCMP gunpoint.

            However, our Anishinaabe prophesy teachings do tell us of a time when our nations will come together and establish one great nation. I look forward to that time.

  3. Tracey Restoule says:

    Thank you Bob, for being the voice of reason, as always. I have seen a level of racism that comes close to this, but not quite – and it is truly disturbing. I wish the hate-mongers could read your comments with and open mind, but then we know they will not and cannot because their minds are not open. Let’s hope reason will prevail in the end.

  4. Chris Maisonneuve says:

    This is single handedly the best write up on this issue that i have ever read.I am not of aboriginal dissent nor do i agree with all the ” Couch potatoe” idiology of most of the hate spewers who think they know what there talking about.

    Again,excellent Blog and i hope that more of the “White folk” read and learn from this.

  5. Chris McGregor says:

    When it comes right down to it, we are all “Treaty People”. Treaties and agreements require two parties. Colonization and Settlement have been “normalized”; as well as negative stereotypes that Indigenous Peoples are “Freeloading” or “Lazy”. Settlers and their modern day children sleep easy with a sense of entitlement to the land that Federal/Provincial/Municipal Governance has placed over all of us. But. These Treaties are still alive and well today enshrined in the Constitution of Canada. Conservative and Liberal agendas commit legislation that favours “Corporate Greed” under the veil of “Creating Jobs for Canadians”. Soon Canadian Settlers and their Modern Day Children will realize that they are not entitled to the land protections that they once enjoyed.

  6. Pauline Gingras says:

    I lift my hat to you….I very much enjoyed your message. I was born in Sturgeon Falls and have always hated whenever people said anything negative against First Nation or Metis. I myself am Metis and am proud of my heritage. I now live in the Outaouais area, not too fat from Maniwaki and have often heard negative comments but I have always put people in their place mentioning that they should research facts before they comment. Keep up your awesome blog. I hope things get better for you and yours.

    Pauline

  7. Frank Hardy (Tunny) says:

    I commend this article, it is very well written and I must say correct, I live in Rocky Bay FN on Lake Nipigon, and we like Nibiising FN have these same issues, we have a “FEW” members who continue to exploit the walleye fishery that we as a First Nation requested the MNR to close because of commercial fishing pressure. The Commercial walleye fishery was closed to commercial fishing in 1995, Rocky Bay was a big harvester of walleye, we own 3 Provincial Commercial Fishing Lic’s on Lake Nipigon, and I commend our Fisherman who initiated the closure of the commercial fishery in 1995, our members sat idle while other commercial fisherman continued to harvest walleye on the Lake, it wasn’t until,a year later that MNR realized that there was a problem and closed the fishery. It is still closed today and has recovered quite well, and we are now trying to renegotiate an incidental harvest back on our quotas but that’s another story. We were never once questioned or not allowed to harvest walleye for our own consumption, it’s just that we have a “FEW” who abuse this right and sell it for profit. I would like a chance to meet and discuss our common problems we share between Nibiising and Rocky Bay First Nations, Lake Nipissing and Lake Nipigon

  8. Glen Huard says:

    I don’t know you Bob, but have to say you hit the mark by 200%. We need to respect everyone, live in harmony and take care of what’s important. One another!!

  9. Doug says:

    Bob,
    This is the first positive approach I’ve seen from your side to address the pickerel stocks in Nipissing. I’m not racist but you have to admit it drives everyone nuts that there are a few individuals who are adding fuel to the fire by acting so carelessly. You have put that on paper and I commend you for identifying it.

    The MNR today is nor the MNR of the past. Pretty sure that Lake Nipissing decisions are not being made locally which infuriates everyone. The latest slot size has nearly everyone going home with no fish even though many smaller ones were caught. The loss of tourism revenue is evident as well.

    There has to be a way to we can get this under control. If it keeps up there will be no fish left to argue about and sooner or later someone is going to do something really stupid.

    • Patricia MacDonald says:

      There are a few, but not all of them were wasteful or lazy and abandoned their nets. As Bob states, some nets have been cut and are a loss of funds to the owners who went to harvest their fish and found their nets were gone. I heard this from a Dokis man working for MNR last year who had been told that he heard of 6 complaints that nets were cut. Those ‘few’ wasteful ones are matched by hateful folks on the other side who didn’t care that the fish died and rotted, people lost their nets and livelihoods, etc. All of this talk in the town and outside has to come to an end and be replaced with constructive discussion, not criticism. Thanks for your article Bob, you’ve started an excellent discussion!

  10. Yves says:

    I’ll support any other methods of harvesting fish you might use but I will never support gill nets, I personally would like to see them banned by the band. The MNR as a chart of the Lake Nipissing walleye population (although they may not make it public), showing a direct decline of the walleye number’s with the start of the commercial netting. I know some sport fishermen poach and when I see it I report it, same with hunting. However as a sport fishermen who has fished Nipissing for 30+ years I can tell you this. We used to be able to keep 6 fish no limit, then 4 with a throw back slot of 40-60cm ( I personally threw everything back that was above the 40cm mark). With this slot size of 40-60cm and no commercial gill netting on Nipissing it used to be a fantastic walleye fishery, almost world class. I remember 7-8 years ago fishing for walleye and almost 90% of the fish we would catch were over the 40cm length, it would take me all week of evening fishing just to catch 2-3 walleye below 40cm for a super for my wife and I. Since the use of commercial netting, especially the last 4 years we still catch tremendous numbers of walleyes but seems like 90% were too small to keep 13″ or less. This year I’ve easily caught over 300 walleyes so far on Nipissing, I’ve only caught 1 over the required minimum 46cm to be a legal fish, 200 or so we’re between 14″-16″ perfect keepers in my opinion and the size that I believe should be harvested for the table. What is gone from the lake is good numbers of the bigger fish that made this lake great. I know some people who say that poachers with rod and reel are the real problem, however that is always a problem and will always continue to be a problem especially now with our depleted Ministry Of Natural Resources not being out there in numbers enforcing the law. My point is, since there have always been unethical poachers for as long as I can remember, despite this the lake was still showing signs of improvement with the 40-60cm slot zone until the introduction of the commercial netting, then why would we not want to stop the use of gill nets on Lake Nipissing. I’ve seen the decline with my own 2 eyes, 7 – 8 years ago I fished all week just to try and catch a couple fish under 40cm to bring home for super. Shortly after the start of the commercial fishing 1-2 years, I would find myself fishing all week just to try and catch 2 big enough (14″-15″) to bring home for dinner as all I was catching were little 8″ to 12″ cigar walleyes. I fish with a couple NFN guys on the lake, they keep 6-7 fish in the 15″-17″ every time they go out while I scramble to try and get a 46cm or over fish and I’m fine with that, I have no problem seeing a status fishermen keeping meals for his family that he caught without the use of a net. They don’t seem to have any problem catching 30+ fish a night on most evenings with a rod and reel, as one of these gentleman told me last week, ” do I really need to use a net on this lake to feed my family”. This guy is someone who has my respect, especially when I see him throwing back the very small and very large fish back, selectively harvesting his catches.

  11. Lise says:

    This article is very well written and well put. There have been many racist comments from both sides. Promoting racism from either direction is not constructive by any means for anyone.

    Native Americans have rights and these rights are their heritage from birth. I want to believe that you are correct to say there are only a few that abuse these rights for greed and dollars….nothing else matters to these individuals and shaming their reservation would not make them lose any sleep!! I know for a fact the difference between a “by catch” and what is a waste of perfectly good fish. If you look at any commercial fishing their is unfortunately always some waste. Commercial fishing is by no means any easy catch. It’s hard work and labour intensive. the fish don’t magically appear in the boats or fillets themselves. Most commercial fishermen get up at the crack of dawn and work hard most of their days off from a regular job to make the extra money. Then there are those who make it look bad for all without remorse…these are the few indiviuals who abuse. They know who they are and perhaps pointing the finger at them rather than all would be a start. Perhaps better monitoring and guidelines that are enforcable with clearly defined consequences for breaking them would be a start. This way no one that is a responsible fisherman would be made a target!

    A solution is what is required but only towards those that abuse their rights….

  12. Lise says:

    This article very well describes the problem. There are those who are respectful fisherman that work hard and do not abuse their rights. Then their are the “rogues” who don’t abide by anything and freely over catch and waste fish for greed without a conscience or respect to the first nations.

    Identifying the abusers and putting guidelines in place with clearly defined consequences might deter and restore dignity to those that do work hard. I for certain know what a “by catch” is and I have first hand seen the hard work involved in gill netting. Most fishermen wake up at the crack of dawn on their days off and work very hard for their right to sell fish. The fish don’t magically jump in their boats and filleting is work. The fishermen that don’t watch their nets and leave fish to waste and rot have greed in their veins with only $$ fueling them with total disregard for fishing rights and make it look bad for a nation.

    Just my opinion…but a solution is what is needed not promoting racism!!

  13. Tyler Kidd says:

    I agree with everything written. It is however a shame that so few can cause so much damage on the fishery and on social perceptions. I hope the change occurs that needs to in order to maintain a sustainable fishery on Lake Nipissing. Thanks for taking the time to address many of the issues.

  14. David says:

    That last comment was written from my cellphone and my auto correct slaughtered my grammar, I’d appreciate if you deleted it until I reach a computer to give you a better written response

  15. Susan says:

    A balanced and respectful article. I agree with you too Yves – I too have fished Nipissing for decades and sadly in recent years have been able to keep very few pickerel even when found.

    But I wonder – who is buying all the pickerel so that it becomes worth using gill nets to over fish? There would be no commercial fishery and no reason to over fish or wrong fish if there weren’t those on the other end to pay for this fish thereby contributing to the problem. I personally will not order pickerel on any menu or in any store. Unless I catch it I won’t eat it. Let’s end the problem by not contributing to the cycle.

  16. Marjorie says:

    I am an elder of NFN.I really like the way you used your words.If one understands the native way,taking time to answer a question is a wise person.They will think about their answer and will be responsible for what was said.All that you have answered is very reasonable.People,use your words ,if you want to be recognized and respected.thank you Bobby Goulais !

  17. Dan says:

    Well Said…………

  18. Penny says:

    In my opinion there are far more commercial ice hut operators then there is commercial nets cleaning out the lakes. But there is no by-catch. They eat r all. All commercial fishing needs to be banned.