Friday, May 23, 2014

Fish Recognition

May 22, 2014

Minister of Conservation and Water Stewardship Gord Mackintosh and Minister of Tourism, Culture, Heritage, Sport and Consumer Protection Ron Lemieux announce the Walleye to be named Manitoba’s new provincial fish


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Plains Bison, Big Bluestem Grass Would also be given Provincial Recognition: Minister Lemieux

Manitobans have chosen the walleye, Plains bison and Big Bluestem grass to become official symbols under proposed amendments to the coat of arms, emblems and the Manitoba tartan act introduced today, Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh and Tourism, Culture, Heritage, Sport and Consumer Protection Minister Ron Lemieux announced.

“Following extensive public input, Manitoban’s voices were heard loud and clear; they love to fish, and whether they call it a walleye or a pickerel, there’s no question this fish represents a huge part of our provincial history,” Minister Mackintosh said.  “From a child’s first fish, to one pulled in from a commercial fisher’s net, nothing represents a Manitoba catch like the walleye.”

Recreational anglers spend about $98 million on activities and supplies according to a 2010 survey and another $100 million is spent on other fishing-related purchases, which helps support Manitoba’s economy and tourism efforts, said Minister Mackintosh, adding the commercial fishery is also a vital part of the economy.  Walleye exports represent about two-thirds of the $29 million in annual income for commercial fishers.

Along with the provincial fish, the Manitoba government also added two more symbols that help define the province’s heritage and history.

“We are pleased to announce and formally recognize the Plains bison as the provincial mammal and Big Bluestem as the provincial grass,” said Minister Lemieux.  “The bison has long been a symbol of the province and we have proudly added the walleye and Big Bluestem grass to reflect our rich history and natural resources.”

As part of the provincial fish selection process, Manitobans were asked to send in their fishing stories and nearly 4,000 submissions were received.  From that group, 20 have been randomly selected to win a free, 2014 conservation fishing licence.  As the provincial fish, the walleye will also be the subject of the annual stamp-painting competition meaning a walleye will be showcased as the stamp on the 2015 provincial fishing licence.

The selection of a provincial grass was identified by a local committee who consulted with the public, carefully researched the suggestions and recommended Big Bluestem as a provincial symbol, said Minister Mackintosh.                                                                                     

Establishing a provincial fish, mammal and grass is consistent with TomorrowNOW, Manitoba’s Green Plan to establish the province as an eco-learning capital by working together to protect the environment while ensuring a prosperous and environmentally conscious economy.

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