The Manitoba government has committed $375,000 to the Lake Winnipeg Research Consortium to upgrade research equipment and $175,000 to Fish Futures Inc. for Lake Whitefish research, according to an announcement by Agriculture and Resource Development Minister Blaine Pedersen.

“Lake Winnipeg is one of Manitoba’s most valuable resources and our government recognizes the importance of making investments that contribute to the long-term sustainability of the lake,” said Pedersen. “That’s why I’m happy to announce our investments in the Lake Winnipeg Research Consortium and Fish Futures Inc., two organizations that are doing excellent conservation and resource management work for Lake Winnipeg.”

The Lake Winnipeg Research Consortium Inc., founded in 1998, is a charitable organization dedicated to facilitating multidisciplinary research on Lake Winnipeg. The organization operates a research vessel, the M.V. Namao, to monitor conditions and conduct research on Lake Winnipeg. The Manitoba government conducts long-term monitoring of physical, chemical, and biological conditions on Lake Winnipeg by participating in science cruises aboard the M.V. Namao.

The $375,000 will help complete repairs and maintenance to the M.V. Namao including overhauling the two main engines and the starboard generator. A portion of the funding will also be used to create a long-term strategic plan for the future operations of the Lake Winnipeg Research Consortium Inc. and the ongoing operation of the M.V. Namao.

“The Lake Winnipeg Research Consortium has operated the M.V. Namao on Lake Winnipeg for 19 consecutive years and safety is our number one priority,” said A.H. (Al) Kristofferson, president and managing director of the Lake Winnipeg Research Consortium Inc. “Now our vessel is in need of essential maintenance that will enable us to continue to operate it well into the future. The funding announced today is essential to allow us to carry on this vital work for the benefit of all.”

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Fish Futures Inc., a federally incorporated registered charity dedicated to the conservation and enhancement of freshwater fisheries, will also receive funding of $175,000 to support the establishment of the Whitefish Sampling Program Research Fund. The project will monitor Lake Whitefish stocks in the north basin of Lake Winnipeg. Combined with government’s annual monitoring programs, the project will also aid in managing the Lake Winnipeg fishery to benefit fish, the fishery, and all Manitobans. This data collection and analysis will play a critical role in informing government-decision making on the management of the Lake Winnipeg fishery.

“Fish Futures is delighted to assist the province with this new whitefish research project,” said David Carrick, founder of Fish Futures and vice-chair (fisheries) of the Fish and Wildlife Enhancement Fund (FWEF). “This project continues the close working relationship between Fish Futures and the province that is now in its 32nd year. We also want to recognize the critical research being done by the M.V. Namao to support the sustainability of Lake Winnipeg’s fisheries. Through their contributions to the FWEF as part of license sales, anglers have been supporting the consortium’s research for many years.”

“The 2020 speech from the throne affirmed the sustainability of Manitoba’s fish and wildlife populations is critical to protect natural resource jobs and conservation traditions,” added Pedersen. “These funding commitments will take steps toward protecting and conserving Lake Winnipeg and its diverse species.”

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