OFAH and Honda Canada team up to provide equipment to hatcheries
By Matt Jones
The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) have long supported volunteer-based fish stocking efforts in the province, through means such as the Community Hatchery Program. Their efforts have inspired other bodies to get involved and, in 2017, the OFAH and Honda Conservation Partnership was formed, dedicated to providing equipment to worthy volunteer hatcheries.
By Matt Jones
“It was actually on Honda’s initiative,” said Robert Pye, manager, Business Development and Corporate Messaging for OFAH. “They have a great connection to grassroots outdoor life in Ontario. They recognize that people in the outdoors community have a passion for conservation work. They found an opportunity to support the OFAH, which in turn supports the volunteers leading the charge for conservation initiatives across the province.”
Through the partnership, the OFAH has provided volunteer hatcheries with pumps, outboard motors, generators and even a snow blower in one case.
“We have hatcheries that are sometimes in very remote locations,” said Pye. “When you think about the work that our hatchery volunteers take on throughout the year, every little bit helps. If the hatchery volunteers find they need to purchase a snow blower so the volunteers can safely get into the hatchery, then that donation keeps money in the local club so they can put it towards the resource.”
The partnership also allows OFAH members to purchase certain Honda equipment at a reduced rate.
After being approached by Honda, the OFAH put the call out to their members to find out where the greatest need was and how to spread Honda’s support evenly cross the province.
“These are all volunteer hatcheries – really the volunteer effort for supporting our fisheries in Ontario is just incredible,” said Pye. “Our fisheries wouldn’t be the same in Ontario if it wasn’t for the volunteers. There’s clearly a lot of people who are very passionate about it and very giving of their time.”
Every year over 900 volunteers donate nearly 60,000 hours of their time to over 40 community hatcheries, raising millions of fish for public waters, Pye said. In 2018, the Community Hatchery Program alone stocked over 5.5 million fish.
“Nobody ever said that you have to take this on,” he said. “Volunteer-run hatcheries came about because people had a passion to make a difference and they put together the infrastructure and worked with government biologists and they worked with groups like the OFAH to put together a framework to provide fish stocking opportunities.”