Fishing is too affordable and accessible, speaker says

By Cecilia Nasmith

The affordable and accessible fishing at Cobourg's harbour is backfiring, Roger Magnan told council at its committee-of-the-whole meeting.

The Ottawa resident who has been a seasonal visitor for 18 years said that part of the problem is the west-harbour boat launch whose easy access is drawing users from miles around.

Magnan estimated that Cobourg benefits from 25 or more seasonal fishing boats, as well as 75 transient fishing boats that come to town from two days to two weeks, contributing an estimated $580,000 to local businesses in a season.

He sees up to 40 a day using the boat launch in a manner that is almost carefree – especially considering the requirements other municipalities have for the use of their boat launches. In Quebec, for example, fees are increasing along with other requirements (such as that only boats that have been freshly washed can be launched).

In Cobourg, the first boats of the day are launched at 4:30 a.m. By 7 a.m., all the trailer parking spots are full and some are starting to park on the grass.

Some have seasonal permits, Magnan added, and some have no passes at all.

“We often see overnight camping in the parking area, and please remember this is an increasing trend.”

Magnan also complained about the fish-cleaning station – a stainless-steel table next to the marina building without any form of shelter from the sun. It is completely unpoliced, resulting in some improper dumping of fish guts.

Magnan's suggestion is that perhaps fishing should not be free. He also would like to see regulations written on large signs – and rigorously enforced.

He would also like more modern fish-cleaning facilities and some method of goose deterrent.

Looking ahead, he invited Mayor John Henderson and up to three councillors to come along with him and his wife on a fishing outing at 8 a,m. July 25, 2020.

“Fishing is very good in Cobourg,” he said.

Council voted to receive Magnan's presentation for information purposes, and to ask staff to review his concerns in a report to be brought back to council by April 30.