Lake Erie’s commercial fishing and processing industry has an economic impact of more than $244 million and includes the world’s largest freshwater commercial fishing industry.
“Most people in Windsor don’t even know there’s a fishing industry here in Lake Erie,” Tony Giacalone, president of fish processor La Nassa Foods in Kingsville, said Wednesday. “There is a lot of politicians who don’t even know we exist.”
The Ontario Commercial Fisheries’ Association wants to change that. It has a new study done by the B.C. business consulting firm MNP with the numbers to show the industry’s significance.
Released in 2015, the study says Ontario’s commercial fisheries and related processing industry have an economic impact of about $305 million and $244 million of that was Lake Erie’s share. The commercial fishing boats on Lake Erie have a $50-million economic impact and the fish processing industry has another $194-million impact.
The combined industries have 913 direct jobs, 1,490 jobs overall and an estimated tax revenue of more than $20 million.
“It’s been long overdue,” Tim Tiessen, president of the Ontario Commercial Fisheries’ Association, said of the analysis.
The impact is more than double earlier ballpark estimates which didn’t include things like equipment purchases, transportation expenses and associated jobs. Tiessen said the report will be given to local politicians.