MNRF Minister has high praise for local conservation volunteers

Ontario’s new Natural Resource Minister has high praise for volunteer clubs that stock fish. And Jeff Yurek promises to “transform” his ministry so it will be more responsive and engaged with the outdoors community.

Veteran BPSA hatchery volunteer Gord Smith explains hatchery operations to MNRF Minister Jeff Yurek and MPP Bill Walker as BPSA members look on

Yurek has only been Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry for a few weeks. The MPP for Elgin-Middlesex-London previously served as the Conservative Party critic of the Natural Resources Ministry. Now as Minister he was on the job in Grey-Bruce Friday being shown around by MPP Bill Walker. The two visited fish hatcheries, met with conservation groups and the Minister officially opened the 31stannual Owen Sound Salmon Spectacular fishing derby which runs until September 1st.

(L-R) MNRF Minister Jeff Yurek and MPP Bill Walker discuss improving freshwater flow with veteran BPSA hatchery volunteer Gord Smith

At the Wiarton based Bruce Peninsula Sportsmen’s Association (BPSA) hatchery, Yurek congratulated

BPSA President Jim Martell and MNRF Minister Jeff Yurek discuss ways of improving the survival rate of fish stocked from his club’s hatchery

the club for its 40-years of fish stocking and stream rehabilitation projects. As the Minister wrapped up his two hour visit he said emphatically “keep up the good work. You folks are doing great things.” Yurek also promised “to make our ministry easier to deal with, more responsive to your needs. We will be better at consulting with your volunteer clubs. We hope to offer better customer service including streamlining the way we deal with conservation and sporting groups such as BPSA, the Lake Huron Fishing Club and the Sydenham Sportsmen’s Association” which have a long history of stocking to support our recreational fishery.

The Minister spent more than an hour meeting with BPSA fish committee members discussing ways to cut red tape for community hatchery operators, improving the survival rate of stocked fish and other issues. He said “we fully support what you have been doing and hope we can help you do an even better job.”

At the BPSA clubhouse (L-R) MNRF Minister Jeff Yurek, Jerry Beaver BPSA director, MPP BILL Walker discuss ways of improving the survival rate of fish stocked by the Bruce Peninsula Sportsmen’s Association

BPSA President Jim Martell thanked the Minister for paying attention to his club calling the Minister’s approach “refreshing and encouraging for our club, which looks forward to an era of co-operation and ‘positivity’ as we continue to work on our conservation projects.”

(L-R) BPSA President Jim Martell, MNRF Minister Jeff Yurek, BPSA Vice-President Kevin Harders at the BPSA clubhouse August 24, 2018