In what is expected to be a series of meetings with the U.S., Canada came away feeling “everything went well” in Washington, D.C. late last month regarding the border water dispute.
“Canada strongly gave their position regarding the conservation of walleye and stated the regulations in place addressed significant conservation concerns,” Brian Bloome, of the Ministry of Natural Resources, said Friday about the meeting, which lasted several days.
Bloome said Canada was willing to listen to the U.S.’s position but stressed Ottawa was prepared to continue to hold its firm stance of preventing non-resident anglers staying at Minnesota resorts from keeping any walleye or sauger caught on the Ontario side of Lake of the Woods and Rainy River.
The law, first imposed on Rainy Lake back in 1994, was extended to Lake of the Woods and Rainy River last year.
Bloome said it was much too early for both sides to begin negotiations, and predicted there would be more meetings between the two sides later this month.
He said he would know more about when those meetings will be held later this week.
While Bloome was not quite sure when those talks would resume, many people around here also have been left in the dark.
“I haven’t really heard anything,” said Tom Pearson, who owns Camp Narrows Lodge on Rainy Lake and is a member of the Border Water Coalition based in Canada.
The U.S. took the step of settling the fish dispute by having the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative begin formal settlement proceedings under the North American Free Trade Agreement back in July on behalf of Minnesota camp owners.
They argued the regulations are discriminating against Minnesota anglers by prohibiting them from keeping any walleye or sauger unless they stay overnight in Ontario.
But Ontario argues the law was made out of necessity to protect the walleye stocks that were threatened by the overharvest of fish by Minnesota anglers.