The original Fisheries Enhancement Initiative (FEI) was established in 1992 by a 1993 licence fee increase of $2.50 per licence on angling licences. The fund was established to improve fish populations and fish habitat in Manitoba. Fish Enhancement Initiatives included projects based on conservation, enhancement, communication and education. From 1993-2007, $350,000 was available annually for fisheries enhancement initiatives.
In 2008, a further $3.00 angling fee increase was added and the formation of the Fisheries Enhancement Fund (FEF) was created. Funding levels were increased to $600,000, a broader range of projects could be funded and a Project Review Committee consisting of members of seven angling groups was implemented with the FEF. A further increase in funding was granted in 2008, which made available $850,000 for Fisheries Enhancement Initiatives.
Over the years, impost fees were introduced on each hunting licence, but only a portion of the money collected from the impost fee was made available through the Wildlife Enhancement Initiative (WEI). The WEI supports various game and fur species and habitat conservation initiatives with a primary focus on species inventories, management of wildlife management areas, cooperative education with Manitoba Universities, and the development and support of various hunting and trapping heritage initiatives. The WEI is part of the department’s budget and the money collected cannot be carried over from one year to the next. A new impost was introduced to create the FWEF and is intended to complement and not replace the WEI.
Establishment of the Fish and Wildlife Enhancement Fund
On March 1, 2014, the Fish and Wildlife Enhancement Fund (FWEF) was established under authority of The Fish and Wildlife Enhancement Fund Act (initially Bill 13, and now C.C.S.M. c. F87) and its regulation (57/2014). Ten dollars ($10) dollars from every angling licence sold will be directed into the Fish Enhancement Fund. Five dollars ($5) from every hunting and trapping licence sold will be directed into the Wildlife Enhancement Fund.
Various organizations involved in fishing, hunting and trapping were instrumental in pushing for the establishment of this new dedicated funding for fish and wildlife related projects. FWEF will have the ability to carry over any unspent funds from one year to the next and will not negatively impact the Fish and Wildlife Branch’s budgets.
Mandate of the FWEF
Manitoba Sustainable Development administers this Fund for the purpose of supporting fish and wildlife initiatives, including projects, programs and studies designed to protect and increase fish and wildlife habitats and populations in Manitoba, and government fish hatcheries. Two subcommittees are established to make recommendations on the funding of enhancement initiatives. The Fish Enhancement Subcommittee reviews and makes recommendations on all fisheries enhancement initiatives that seek funding and recommend initiatives to be funded. The Wildlife Enhancement Subcommittee reviews and makes recommendations on all wildlife enhancement initiatives that seek funding and recommend initiatives to be funded.
A Fish Enhancement Initiative means:
- a project or program to conserve or increase fish populations;
- a project or program to protect, manage or restore fish habitats;
- a study of fish populations or habitats;
- angler education programs; and
- the acquisition, by purchase, lease or other means, of property or an interest in property in order to protect a critical fish habitat.
A Wildlife Enhancement Initiative means:
- a project or program to conserve or increase wildlife populations;
- a project or program to protect, manage or restore wildlife habitats, including the construction or maintenance of infrastructure in wildlife management areas;
- a study of wildlife populations or habitats;
- hunter and trapper education programs; and
- the acquisition, by purchase, lease or other means, of property or an interest in property in order to protect a critical wildlife habitat.