Fisheries biologist Dr. John M. Casselman was inducted into the Canadian Angler Hall of Fame at an awards ceremony on February 13th, kicking off the Spring Fishing and Boat Show in Mississauga, Ontario.
As well, Saskatchewan MP Garry Breitkreuz took home the 2015 Rick Amsbury Award of Excellence, and the Jock River Fish Habitat Embayment Project was recognized as the Conservation Project of the Year.
An internationally renowned fisheries expert, Casselman is an adjunct professor with the Queens University Department of Biology, retired senior scientist with Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, and supervisor of the Lake Ontario Research Unit. Casselman’s research has been essential in developing conversation regulations that have preserved and strengthened Canada’s fisheries. In his remarks, Cassleman said that much of his academic work was informed by his youthful experiences as a fishing guide on the St. Lawrence River.
“I learned a lot about fish, a lot about fisheries and a lot about people who fish,” he said. In those days, he noted, a good day on the water meant going home with a box of fish, and anglers assumed that fish populations were endless. Obviously that was not the case, but research, better regulations and a major change in attitudes have saved a lot of fish and, he said in closing, “The future for fisheries is bright.”
Named for a legendary Canadian conservationist, the Rick Amsbury Award of Excellence was presented to Saskatchewan’s Garry Breitkreuz, MP for Yorkton-Melville. A lifelong outdoorsman, in 2006 Breitkreuz founded the Outdoors Caucus. The group is made up of MPs and senators of all political stripes, who share an interest in preserving Canada’s legacy of fishing, hunting, trapping and sport shooting. Today, the Outdoors Caucus is the largest caucus on Parliament Hill, includes members from four political parties, and lobbies on behalf of all Canadian outdoorsolk.
“When I got to Ottawa, I noticed no one was speaking out for Canadians who enjoy heritage activities,” Breitkreuz said. He believed the answer was an all-party, non-partisan caucus. “Heritage activities should not be a left-right or an urban-rural issue,” he said. “One party does not stay in power forever, so to be heard we have to work together.”
The Hall of Fame also handed out its Conservation Project of the Year award to the Ottawa Chapter of Muskies Canada and the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority. The award recognized the efforts of the two groups in creating the new Jock River Fish Habitat Embayment.
This project created spawning and nursery habitat for fish, particularly muskie and northern pike, in the Richmond Conservation Area on the Jock River (a tributary of the Rideau), within the City of Ottawa. The embayment converted an existing grassed park area into an 803 square-metre shallow bay off the main river (see photos).
In addition to creating new spawning space, the embayment improves shoreline stability, increases riverside habitat and protects water quality in the river. The shoreline wetland will also provide important habitat to other species such as birds, amphibians and turtles.
In accepting the honour, biologist Jennifer Lamoureux of the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority and Peter Levick, new president of Muskies Canada, announced that the money that comes with the award will be used to create an additional embayment.