Ontario Taking Steps To Protect Walleye In Lake Erie

The Ontario government is taking action to protect spawning walleye in the western half of Lake Erie by reducing commercial and sport harvest of

spawning walleye this year. The move is part of an international action plan to protect and restore declining walleye and yellow perch stocks.

"Walleye and yellow perch are the most ecologically and economically important fish in Lake Erie," said Natural Resources Minister John Snobelen.

"They represent over 80 per cent of the Ontario commercial fishery’s annual value and half of the sport fishing effort. The Ministry of Natural

Resources is working with sport and commercial fishers, as well as American fisheries managers, to develop and implement a three-year strategy to

restore the walleye and perch stocks."

The first changes are designed to reduce the harvest of spawning walleye in western Lake Erie and the Detroit River. Ontario’s commercial fishers will

start January 1 with an initial allocation of six per cent of their 2000 walleye quota, or about 234,500 kg. In recent years, Lake Erie commercial fishers started January 1 with a walleye allocation of 50 per cent of the previous year’s quota, with the balance usually allocated in April.

During the walleye spawning period in March and April, the daily walleye limit for anglers in the central and western basins of the lake and the Detroit River is reduced to four from six fish. A similar limit will apply

to the Ohio waters of Lake Erie.

The Lake Erie Committee of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, composed of fishery managers from Ontario and four American states, is concerned about

the decline of walleye in Lake Erie since the mid-1990s. The committee has noted that walleye harvest may not be the sole cause of the problem. Plans

for recovery of walleye stocks must address harvest levels.

Following similar action taken by the Lake Erie Committee on yellow perch, populations of this fish are showing signs of recovery from a sharp decline

in the early 1990s. To promote continued recovery, the Committee will take a conservative approach when setting the total allowable catch for perch

over the next three years.

The government previously announced changes to walleye and yellow perch fishing in the Ontario waters of eastern Lake Erie in December 1999.


Lake Erie Commercial Fisherman Nabbed for Fishing

Eastern Basin Rehab Area

A Port Maitland-area commercial fisherman has been ordered to pay $5,000 for failing to accurately report fishing activity in rehabilitation area in eastern Lake Erie.

James Case, of Lowbanks, pleaded guilty to a charge under Section 36 (2) of the Ontario Fisheries Regulations. Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR)

Conservation Officers saw Case fishing on the south side of Long Point, southwest of Port Dover, inside the boundary of the Eastern Basin Rehabilitation Area on April 13, 2000. However, the Daily Catch Report Case filed for that date indicated he was fishing further west, outside the rehabilitation area.

On January 1, 2000, the MNR launched a plan to protect and restore local stocks of yellow perch and walleye in eastern Lake Erie for the benefit of both the sport and commercial fisheries. The five-year plan will manage the harvest of fish from the area

between Long Point and Fort Erie - known as the Eastern Basin Rehabilitation Area - separately from the rest of the lake. The aim is to protect local, genetically-distinct stocks of fish from further decline.

The decline in abundance of walleye, yellow perch and smelt stocks is mainly a result of ecosystem changes brought on by the invasion of zebra and

quagga mussels in the late 1980s, and the international efforts since 1972 to reduce the amount of phosphorus entering the lake. The total commercial harvest of fish from the eastern end of the lake has declined by over 75 per cent in the 1990s and angler catch rates have declined as well.

Case appeared in the Ontario Court of Justice in Simcoe on January 25. The Justice of the Peace ordered the penalty be paid to the MNR’s Special

Purpose Account.


Hypothermia and Cold Water Survival

Early spring-time fishermen whether fishing in  the rivers or on Lake Erie should be aware of the dangers that cold water presents and the steps one should take if you find yourself or a fishing partner in a cold-water danger situation.

Safety experts estimate that half of all drowning victims actually die from the fatal effects of cold water, or hypothermia, and not from water-filled lungs. Loss of body heat is one of the greatest hazards to survival when you fall overboard, capsize, or jump into the water. Cold water robs the body of heat 25-30 times faster than air. When you lose enough body heat to make your temperature subnormal, you become hypothermic.

Sudden immersion in cold water cools your skin and outer tissues very quickly. Within 10 or 15 minutes, your core body temperature (brain, spinal cord, heart and lungs) begins to drop. Your arms and legs become numb and completely useless. You may lose consciousness and drown before your core body temperature drops low enough to cause death.

Certain areas of your body are "hot spots" that lose large amounts of body heat faster than other areas and need special protection to prevent hypothermia. The head and neck are the most critical areas. The sides of the chest, where there is little fat or muscle, are major areas of heat loss from the warm chest cavity. The groin also loses large amounts of heat because major blood vessels are near the surface.

How cold is "Cold Water"?

Cold water does not have to by icy. It just has to be colder than you are to cause hypothermia. The rate of body heat loss depends on water temperature, the protective clothing worn, percent body fat, other physical factors like alcohol in the blood, and most importantly, the way you behave in the water.

Different activities in the water consume varying amounts of body heat. The more energy (heat) you expend, the quicker your body temperature drops, reducing your survival time. As an example, for an average sized adult immersed in 50 degree temperature water, estimated survival times range from one hour to seven hours depending on the behavior of the individual:

Behavior Estimated Survival Time

Drownproofing * 1 hour

Swimming slowly 2 hours

Holding still 3 hours

H.E.L.P Position 4 hours

* Drownproofing is a warm-water survival technique: To conserve energy, you relax in the water and allow your head to submerge between breaths. This technique is NOT RECOMMENDED in cold water, since about 50% of heat loss is from the head.

Surviving in Cold Water

If you suddenly find yourself in the water, don’t panic! Calmly follow the procedure below to increase your survival time.

Minimize body heat loss. This is the single most important thing you should do. Do not remove clothing, despite what you may have been told. Instead, button, buckle, zip and tighten collars, cuffs, shoes and hoods. Cover your head if possible. A layer of water trapped inside your clothing will be warmed by your body and help insulate you. Put on a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) if available.

Devote all your efforts to getting out of the water. Act quickly before you lose full use of your hands,. Board a boat, raft, or anything floating. Right a capsized boat and climb in. Most boats will support you even when full of water. If you cannot right the boat, climb on top of it.

Do not try to swim unless it is to reach a nearby boat, another person, or a floating object on which you can climb or lean. "Swimming "pumps" out warm water between your body and your clothing, and pumps warm blood to your extremities, where it cools quickly and reduces your survival time by as much as 50%.

Remain as still as possible, however painful. Intense shivering and severe pain in cold water are natural body reflexes, which will not kill you, but heat loss will!

First Aid for Hypothermia

Any person pulled from cold water should be treated for hypothermia. Symptoms include intense shivering, loss of coordination, mental confusion, cold and blue skin, weak pulse, irregular heartbeat and enlarged pupils. Once shivering stops, core body temperature begins to drop critically. Try to prevent further body cooling and take the victim to a medical facility immediately.

What to do:

· Gently move the victim to warm shelter.

· Check breathing and heartbeat. Start CPR if necessary.

· Remove clothing with minimum body movement, cut them away if necessary.

· Lay the victim in a level, face-up position with a blanket or other insulation underneath.

· Wrap victim in a blanket or other warm cloth.

· Apply heating pads or hot water bottles under the blanket to head, neck, chest and groin. Be careful not to burn victim’s skin.

· DO NOT apply heat to arms and legs. This forces cold blood in arms and legs back toward the heart, lungs and brain, lowering core body temperature and causing "after drop," which can be fatal.

· DO NOT massage or give hot baths. Rough handling may cause cardiac arrest.

· Apply your own body warmth by direct body-to-body contact. Wrap a blanket around you and the victim.

· DO NOT give food or drink to unconscious victims.

· NEVER give alcohol to a hypothermia victim.

Dead or Alive?

Some apparent drowning victims may seem dead, but they are still alive! "Mammalian diving reflex" can be triggered by cold water. This reflex, common to whales, porpoise and seals, shuts off blood circulation to most parts of the body except the heart, lungs and brain. What little oxygen remains in the blood is circulated where it is needed most. Do not assume that a person who is cyanotic (blue skin) and who has no detectable pulse or breathing is dead. Administer CPR and get medical help as quickly as possible.

This guide has been provided by the Boat U.S. Foundation for Boating Safety