Strategic policy for bait management in Ontario

ERO number
012-9791
Notice type
Policy
Act
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997
Posted by
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Transferred to
Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry
Notice stage
Decision
Decision posted
Comment period
February 27, 2017 - June 27, 2017 (120 days) Closed
Last updated

This consultation was open from:
February 27, 2017
to June 27, 2017

Decision summary

A new proposal ‘Ontario’s Sustainable Bait Management Strategy’, (ERO Number 019-0518) has replaced this notice (012-9791) effective September 30, 2019. Feedback received from this policy proposal has been reviewed and incorporated in the new policy.

Decision details

The purpose of this policy proposal was to seek feedback on proposed policy options related to the management of bait in Ontario, in support of the Provincial Bait Policy Review. No formal decisions were made at this stage of the bait review.

The comments received from this policy proposal (including registry comments, written letters, and feedback received during province-wide public, stakeholder and Indigenous information sessions) have been considered and have informed a new draft policy proposal.

Comments received

Through the registry

280

By email

0

By mail

15
View comments submitted through the registry

Effects of consultation

This draft policy proposed changes to the use, movement and harvest of bait across the province to address ecological risks. Feedback indicated that there is support to reduce the risks of spreading aquatic invasive species and diseases, but that this proposal would have negative impacts on businesses reliant on the use and harvest of bait. Many felt that anglers and commercial operators would be too restricted by the boundaries of the Bait Management Zones, which could result in supply and demand issues or make it difficult for anglers to find places to purchase bait. Comments similarly suggested the proposed changes to the movement of personally-harvested bait were too restrictive. Other comments reflected concerns associated with restrictions in Provincial Parks, the need to keep receipts for purchased bait, and reductions to the eligible species list.

The comments received as part of this registry posting helped inform the new policy proposal (ER # 019-0518).

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Some supporting materials may not be available online. If this is the case, you can request to view the materials in person.

Get in touch with the office listed below to find out if materials are available.

Public Input Coordinator Fisheries Section
Address

300 Water Street
5th Floor, North Tower
Peterborough, ON
K9J 3C7
Canada

Office phone number

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Contact

Public Input Coordinator - Fisheries Section

Phone number
Email address
Office
Public Input Coordinator Fisheries Section
Address

300 Water Street
5th Floor, North Tower
Peterborough, ON
K9J 3C7
Canada

Office phone number

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Original proposal

ERO number
012-9791
Notice type
Policy
Act
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997
Posted by
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Proposal posted

Comment period

February 27, 2017 - June 27, 2017 (120 days)

Proposal details

Description of policy

The harvest and use of live bait has been an important part of Ontario’s fishing industry for nearly a century. While the commercial bait industry provides considerable benefit to the recreational fishery and the provincial economy, the movement of live bait poses ecological risks related to the spread of disease and invasive species and poses a significant risk to Ontario’s fisheries, protected areas and biodiversity. Given these environmental pressures (e.g., invasive species, diseases), the management of the bait resource has become increasingly challenging.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) has completed a comprehensive review of its provincial bait policies to help improve the management of bait (i.e. baitfish and leeches). The intent of the review was to evaluate options that minimize the ecological risks associated with the use, movement and harvest, while also reducing the complexity of current management regimes and increasing business certainty to the bait industry. An external stakeholder group (Bait Review Advisory Group (BRAG)) was established at the onset of the review to help provide input and perspectives on all possible approaches, including maintaining the status quo.

As a result of the bait review process and the feedback received to date, the MNRF has developed a Strategic Policy for Bait Management in Ontario that directs how bait will be managed in the future.

The following goals were established to guide the bait policy review and are proposed to be carried forward into the Strategic Policy for Bait Management in Ontario:

  1. Bait is managed to protect the health of aquatic ecosystems.
  2. Sustainable use of bait resources enhances the quality of life for Ontarians by providing recreational, social and economic benefits.
  3. Bait is managed to conserve the resource and maintain a viable bait industry.
  4. Bait management is adaptable, effective, consistent across the province and simple to implement.

This proposed policy addresses the following aspects of bait management in Ontario:

  1. Permitted bait species
  2. Possession limits
  3. Scale of movement of commercial bait (i.e., commercial movement and angler-purchased bait)
  4. Use and movement of personally harvested bait
  5. Restrictions on where bait can be used or harvested
  6. Storage of bait (angler and commercial)
  7. Bait use, harvest and storage in Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves
  8. Commercial bait operations, including:
    1. Allocation
    2. Equipment
    3. Dormancy
    4. Training
    5. Reporting
    6. Compliance
    7. Harvest in Species at Risk areas
    8. Licensing

MNRF is now soliciting feedback on the proposed policy.

Purpose of policy

The MNRF has developed a Strategic Policy for Bait Management in Ontario that directs how bait will be managed in the future. The ministry is now seeking feedback on this proposed policy.

Other information

Strategic Bait Policy

The Management of Bait in Ontario: A Review

The following web links provide supporting information from previous stages of the review process:

Provincial Bait Policy Review:

Information notice advises the public of the provincial bait policy review being conducted by MNRF. ER# 012-1043

Provincial Bait Policy Review - Angler Use and Movement of Baitfish in Ontario
Policy proposal notice seeks feedback from the public on policy options associated with the angler use and movement of bait in Ontario. ER# 012-2836

Provincial Bait Policy Review - Bait Use and Commercial Harvest in Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves
Policy proposal notice seeks feedback from the public on policy options associated with bait use and harvest in Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves in Ontario. ER# 012-2835

Provincial Bait Policy Review- Commercial Sale and Transport, Allocation and Reporting of Baitfish and Leeches in Ontario
Policy proposal notice seeks feedback from the public on policy options associated with the commercial aspects of bait management in Ontario. ER# 012-4222

Public consultation

This proposal was posted for a 120 day public review and comment period starting February 27, 2017. Comments were to be received by June 27, 2017.

All comments received during the comment period are being considered as part of the decision-making process by the Ministry.

Please Note: All comments and submissions received have become part of the public record.

Other public consultation opportunities

This policy is the result of the Provincial bait review, which involved extensive consultation with a Bait Review Advisory Group (BRAG), which is comprised of 13 provincial stakeholders with an interest in bait management, as well as discussion with Indigenous communities, stakeholders and the public. Letters will be sent to Indigenous communities and organizations, bait licence holders, and NGOs to inform them of the policy proposal and invite them to comment.

As part of the consultation and engagement process, MNRF will be holding engagement sessions for the Indigenous communities and organizations, the public, stakeholders, and industry concurrently with this posting.

Once the Strategic Policy is finalized, MNRF will seek additional public comment, as appropriate, on the implementation of the bait management approaches that it identifies.

For more information, please contact bait@ontario.ca.

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Some supporting materials may not be available online. If this is the case, you can request to view the materials in person.

Get in touch with the office listed below to find out if materials are available.

Comment

Commenting is now closed.

This consultation was open from February 27, 2017
to June 27, 2017

Connect with us

Contact

Scott Gibson

Phone number
Office
Species Conservation Policy Branch
Address

300 Water Street
Floor 5N
Peterborough, ON
K9J 3C7
Canada

Office phone number