May 6, 2014
WINNIPEG BEACH — Everyone knows fishing is best in spring, especially commercial fishers.
"Every hour that passes is hundreds of dollars, thousands of dollars," said Kris Isfeld, a commercial fisherman out of Winnipeg Beach harbour. "That's when we make half our income."
So when the province announced last week it was closing four Lake Winnipeg harbours, including Winnipeg Beach and Gimli, preventing about 130 fishing skiffs from getting out on the water this spring, the commercial fishing community was stunned. The province's plan would close the harbours for a month using silt curtains, then pour 400 tonnes of liquid potash into the harbours to try to kill zebra mussels, an invasive species.
"It was a complete shock to everyone. And for commercial fishers, the timing couldn't have been worse," said Jim Campbell, a former provincial fisheries biologist and now a commercial fisherman on Lake Winnipeg.