Pioneer sponsors environmental education field trips

Posted on January 27th, 2009

This winter, Ontario’s largest independent gas retailer and a proud Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.) conservation partner, Pioneer Petroleums, is announcing a commitment to sponsor environmental education field trips hosted by the Lake Ontario Atlantic Salmon Restoration Program. As part of these 80+ school field trips, over 1,200 students will be directly involved in stream restoration projects in parts of Lake Ontario’s watershed. They will also assist in the release of Atlantic salmon, an original Lake Ontario species that was in fact, one of the first species in Canada to be wiped out as a result of human development in the late 1800’s.

Tim Hogarth, Chief Executive Officer for Pioneer Petroleums, said, “Pioneer’s partnership in this O.F.A.H.-led program is a natural connection. Pioneer believes in supporting grassroots environmental action and we believe in helping kids. Pioneer is pleased to support outdoor educational opportunities that will help give children a lifelong appreciation for healthy waterways and those who volunteer to protect them.”

This school year, over 80 schools representing a dozen school boards will be raising Atlantic salmon in their very own classroom hatcheries. Each school may schedule field trips for the spring, courtesy of Pioneer, to give students an opportunity to release their fish and help bring back an ecological treasure to Lake Ontario.

“We are proud to be supported by Pioneer, a forward-thinking company that hasn’t forgotten its roots – a company that clearly shares the Federation’s interest in supporting local community-based volunteer conservation work,” said O.F.A.H. Executive Director, Mike Reader.

Beginning this spring, select Pioneer stations will host “Conservation Month at Pioneer” to help support environmental education and conservation events, such as “Pioneer Day on Bronte Creek.” In addition to helping kids learn about the environment, Pioneer is dedicated to supporting O.F.A.H.-led stream improvement projects and the restoration of Lake Ontario Atlantic salmon.
The Lake Ontario Atlantic Salmon Restoration Program’s classroom hatchery initiative is part of the history-making conservation endeavor that was launched in 2006 by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and its conservation partners. Pioneer’s support is an extension of its corporate commitment to environmental integrity and education. As a corporate philosophy, Pioneer supports programs that encourage individuals to help improve our environment.

In addition to Pioneer Petroleums, the Lake Ontario Atlantic Salmon Restoration Program receives support from more than 35 partners. The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and Ministry of Natural Resources partner to lead the restoration effort, and major sponsors include Australia’s Banrock Station Wines, LCBO, Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association, Fishing Forever Foundation, Fleming College and Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. For more information, visit


Robert Pye
Member Services Coordinator, Membership Marketing
705-748-6324 ext 267
Lezlie Goodwin
Communications Coordinator
705-748-6324 ext 270

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Native species restoration program goes to school

Posted on January 19th, 2009

Greenbelt classrooms receive funding to raise Atlantic salmon

The children in grade four at Hickory Wood Public School in Brampton will soon join thousands of other aspiring ecologists in helping to restore a species gone from Lake Ontario for over a century, thanks to an $84,000 grant from the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation.
The school is one of over 75 educational facilities participating in the classroom hatchery program that is part of the Lake Ontario Atlantic Salmon Restoration Program (L.O.A.S.R.P.). The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.) and the Ministry of Natural Resources (M.N.R.) are leading the initiative, with major funding from Australia’s Banrock Station Wetlands Foundation, LCBO, Fishing Forever Foundation and Fleming College and more than 30 other contributors, including government agencies, conservation authorities and landowners. The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation have come onboard in 2008-2009 to fund an education coordinator for the program and 30 schools within the Greater Golden Horseshoe and Greenbelt areas. Their funding has led to an additional 19 units being donated.

“This project recaptures a part of the Greenbelt’s lost heritage,” said Burkhard Mausberg, President of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. “The now protected waterways and ecosystems in Ontario’s Greenbelt contribute to the possibility of bringing back the Atlantic salmon to Lake Ontario.”

“Fish stocking, habitat restoration, and research will bring Atlantic salmon back to Lake Ontario, but it is education and engagement that will ensure Atlantics remain part of our natural history in the Greenbelt,” said Mike Reader, O.F.A.H. Executive Director. “Classroom hatcheries empower youth to be stewards of Atlantic salmon and their watersheds.”

The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation is an independent, charitable foundation with a mandate to fund organizations in support of farming, the environment and rural communities located in Ontario’s Greenbelt. The Greenbelt is permanently protected green space consisting of 1.8 million acres (728,000 hectares) that wrap around the Golden Horseshoe and encompass the Niagara Escarpment, the Oak Ridges Moraine and Rouge Park.

leading private, nonprofit fishing, hunting and conservation organization in Ontario. To learn more about the L.O.A.S.R.P. visit or

EVENT: children receive Atlantic salmon eggs for classroom hatchery

WHEN: 1-2pm, January 23, 2009 WHERE: Hickory Wood Public School, 630 Ray Lawson Boulevard, Brampton

WHO:    Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, O.F.A.H., M.N.R., Banrock Station Wetlands Foundation

Lezlie Goodwin
Communications Coordinator
705-748-6324 ext 270
cell: 705-872-8053

Chris Robinson
Atlantic Salmon Program Coordinator
705-748-6324 ext 237

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Toronto International Boat Show

Posted on January 14th, 2009

If your heading down to the Toronto International Boat Show this Saturday, be sure to visit the Yamaha booth. Italo will be on hand to answer your fishing questions and to share his own positive experiences operating his G3 boat & Yamaha outboard.

Italo, will also be conducting a seminar at The Great Canadian Fish Tank on Saturday, Jan 17th @ 1:30pm entitled “Fishing top to bottom” – using specific presentations to catch fish from the surface, all the way to the bottom.

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Fishing in Israeli waters!

Posted on December 9th, 2008

Canadian fisherman hauls great catch in Israeli waters

By Sharon Kanon

December 07, 2008

When it comes to fishing in the Holy Land, Canadian fisherman Italo Labignan is nothing short of enthusiastic. “It’s an awesome experience,” he admits. This is fulsome praise indeed because Labignan is a premier fisherman and the host of Canada’s longest running and most watched sports fishing TV series. Labignan was in Israel last week on a 10-day fishing expedition to the Mediterranean, the Sea of Galilee, the Dan River streams, and the Red Sea. His expedition will be televised on The Sports Network (TSN), the largest sports channel in Canada, as well as on the World Fishing Network. Together, the networks serve over 50 million viewers in North America, Canada and Europe. “There are so many scenic places with good fishing on the Mediterranean,” says Labignan.

During the trip, which was organized by the Canada-Israel Committee (CIC), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the fisheries section of the Ministry of Agriculture, his Canadian crew caught everything from rainbow trout in Kibbutz Dafna, to squid, swordfish and giant trevally in Eilat, and tuna, grouper and Amberjack in the Mediterranean.

From sardines to three feet catfish On one particularly successful fishing haul on a gorgeous sunny day in the Sea of Galilee, the anglers caught a large catfish, three feet in length, weighing about 10 to 15 lbs. “We fished on a commercial boat using a seine net and caught most of the variety of popular eating fish in the Sea – tilapia, freshwater sardines, large scaled barbel, common carp, silver carp,” Labignan tells ISRAEL21c, thrilled with the idea of fishing in the sea where the apostles fished. “Then the fish we caught was served to us in the Ein Gev restaurant on the shores. Most pilgrims just get to eat the St. Peters fish.”

Labignan, who has been to Israel on fishing expeditions many times before, says he was impressed to see the significant increase in the number of sports fishermen in Israel over the last few years. “The numbers have grown 10-fold since I was here four years ago, he says. “And they are serious about fishing. I could see from the lures that they used. They are people with knowledge. Many fish every day. I saw some beautiful photos of fish they caught on their iphones and PDA’s.” This is the first time that Labignan has filmed a show in the Middle East.

He plans to run six episodes on the region. He came up with the idea and approached the Canada-Israel Committee (CIC) for support. “We were delighted to have the opportunity of showing a different side of Israel – beyond the conflict – and enhance the tradition of Israel-Canadian friendship that has always existed,” says Judy Zelikovitz, of the CIC. ISRAEL21c interviewed Labignan while he was taking a day off to sightsee in Jerusalem. The day began on the Mount of Olives, and included a visit to the Garden of Gesetheme, other biblical landmarks in the Old City, the Biblical Zoo, the museum, and other tourist sites. Labignan spoke enthusiastically about a visit they had already made to an interactive first century Christian Village in Nazareth, as well as fish farms.

Showing off Israel’s diversity The Dead Sea and Masada were non-fishing stops on the way to Eilat. The producer plans to integrate film footage of visits to religious, archaeological, and other tourist sites and disburse them into half-hour program segments so that viewers can see the rich diversity offered in Israel. Aside from the fishing, Labignan was also enthusiastic about Israel’s natural beauty, particularly the tributaries of the Dan and Jordan, “areas so lush with so much growth in the streams,” he says. Jean Jacques Ohayon, the Israeli representative of the International Game and Fishing Association (IGFA) was with the group for some days during their tour. Labignan paid tribute to his passion for fishing, and his website, which the Canadian believes has had a major impact on the increase of serious sport fishing in Israel.

The Canadian Sport-Fishing Pro hopes that the TV series on Israel will help to trigger interest in the development of sports fishing here. “I am hoping to develop sports fishing packages with the same tour operators who run regular tours. A week or 10-day fishing trip is a nice add-on to a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Israel’s relatively warm climate when the Big Freeze hits Canada is also a pull,” explains Labignan “Other Mediterranean countries such as Spain, France, and Italy are over fished,” adds Ohayon, the IGFA rep. “I know from talking to my colleagues. Israel offers the best sports fishing in the area.”

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O.F.A.H. announces new team for Ontario OUT OF DOORS

Posted on December 4th, 2008
O.F.A.H. Media Release:

O.F.A.H. announces new team for Ontario OUT OF DOORS
Familiar faces take the lead as magazine moves to new ownership

Ontario OUT OF DOORS (O.O.D.), the province’s leading outdoors magazine, will begin operations under the ownership of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.) in December 2008, and three faces that are very familiar to the outdoors community are ready to take the helm.

John Kerr, one of Ontario’s most respected outdoor writers and a passionate angler and hunter, will assume the position of Editor-in-Chief. John has been a fixture on the outdoors scene for more than 30 years, and brings a steady and familiar hand to the publication. He began writing for O.O.D. in 1976, and has filled various roles since, including Assistant Editor, Managing Editor and Executive Editor. He has also penned a column for the Toronto Sun newspaper. John spends as much time in the field as possible, fishing year-round and hunting deer and waterfowl each fall.

Ray Blades, another fixture at O.O.D. will continue in his current role as Associate Editor. Ray joined the magazine in 1996 to create the highly popular websites and Ray has been a regular contributor to the magazine, focusing on outdoor gear and specialty supplements, and has played a key role in administration, financial planning, public relations and brand development. When not working, Ray can be found on one of the province’s many trout streams, or hunting for woodcock and grouse.

O.O.D. Art Director Tamas Pal brings nearly a decade of experience in magazine design, photography and illustration with him to the O.F.A.H. Tamas joined O.O.D. in 2004, and is the talent behind the recently overhauled look and feel of the magazine. Like his colleagues, Tamas spends much of his free time hunting and fishing across the province.

“The O.F.A.H. is delighted that three strong, experienced and well known outdoors enthusiasts will lead Ontario OUT OF DOORS magazine as it moves to the O.F.A.H.,” said O.F.A.H. Executive Director Mike Reader. “With John, Ray and Tamas in place, we know the magazine is in great hands, and with a strong team of contributing writers and editors, O.O.D. will continue to offer readers the best hunting and fishing publication in the province.”

O.O.D. represents a significant expansion of the communications reach of the O.F.A.H., which currently owns the popular The Angler and Hunter television series, and the O.F.A.H. website, and positions the organization as the undisputed voice of anglers and hunters.

With 83,000 members and 655 member clubs, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters is the leading fishing, hunting and conservation organization in Ontario. For more information visit


Lezlie Goodwin
O.F.A.H. Communications Coordinator
(705) 748-6324 ext 270

Click here to download the PDF version of this release

© 2008 Ontario Federation of Anglers & Hunters

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