This consultation closes at 11:59 p.m. on:
November 14, 2019
The Ministry is proposing to modernize Ontario’s bait management approach to protect Ontario’s vibrant fisheries and the industries that rely on them while maintaining flexibility for industry and anglers.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) has conducted a comprehensive review of its provincial bait policies to improve the management of bait (baitfish and leeches). The purpose of the review was to evaluate ways to minimize the ecological risks associated with the use, movement and harvest of bait, while also reducing the complexity of current management approaches and increasing business certainty for the bait industry.
The bait review process led to a draft proposal, the ‘Strategic Policy for Bait Management in Ontario’, that was posted on the Environmental Registry for comment in 2017. The Ministry also held consultation sessions across the province to gather feedback on the proposal. In 2018 and 2019, MNRF’s Parliamentary Assistant held six bait listening sessions across Ontario to gather updated feedback on the current bait management program.
We considered the feedback received on the 2017 proposal and from provincial consultation and listening sessions. The feedback and concerns are addressed in this new proposal, ‘Ontario’s Sustainable Bait Management Strategy’.
The new strategy proposes that:
- movement of both purchased and personally-harvested baitfish and leeches is limited to four bait management zones
- anglers can personally-harvest and move their bait within the zone of their primary residence without additional documentation
- anglers who use bait outside of the bait management zone of their primary residence would be required to purchase their bait in the zone where they are fishing. They would be required to keep a receipt on hand to show proof of purchase location. The proof of purchase would remain valid for two weeks. Anglers who fish and use bait in their home zone do not need a receipt
- the list of eligible baitfish species is reduced to only those 34 species that anglers and commercial operators typically use and sell
- the use and storage of bait is prohibited in native Brook Trout lakes
- no changes to the use and harvest of bait in Provincial Parks
- minor changes will be made to commercial bait licences (e.g. to provide longer licence terms, to work with the industry to develop a compliance framework)
We intend to amend Ontario Fishery Regulations under the federal Fisheries Act and Ontario Regulation 664/98 (Fish Licensing) under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act to implement the proposal should it proceed. No additional opportunity for comments will be provided.
Public consultation opportunities
The Ministry worked to engage the public through the Provincial Bait Review, including:
- proposal posting on the Environmental Registry (see below)
- twenty-one engagement sessions with Indigenous communities, industry, stakeholders and the public (2017)
- six bait listening sessions lead by MNRF’s Parliamentary Assistant (2018/2019)
To comment on the proposal, please submit your comments online by clicking the ‘Submit a comment’ button, or by reaching out to the contact(s) listed. The Ministry may notify some groups that otherwise are unlikely to become aware of the proposal.
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.
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