KEMPTVILLE â€” The Ministry of Natural Resources has changed a baitfish provision in response to concerns from the bait industry in eastern Ontario
As of January 1, 2008, it became illegal to use baitfish larger than 13 cm (5.1 in.) in all of Fisheries Management Zone 18 (eastern Ontario). This change was made to limit the practice of gorge fishing, a technique that increases the mortality in released fish, but placed an unforeseen economic challenge on the local baitfish industry.
After hearing concerns from the industry and anglers, the ministry has lifted this restriction effective immediately. The ministry will continue to consult with the public and stakeholders on ways to reduce hooking mortality resulting from the use of gorge fishing and to ensure the sustainability of Ontarioâ€™s sport fishery.
“The bait industry and the sustainability of Ontarioâ€™s sport fishery support good jobs and ecological development across Ontario,” said Natural Resources Minister Donna Cansfield. “Iâ€™m pleased to work with the Bait Association of Ontario and local communities to create more opportunities for prosperous and sustainable fishing practices throughout our province.”
The 2008-2009 Ontario Recreational Fishing Regulations Summary is now available from licence issuers, ServiceOntario/Government Information Centres and on the ministryâ€™s website at ontario.ca/fishing.
Before going fishing, anglers should carefully review the information outlined in the fishing regulations summary and check the ministry website for updates.
“The Bait Association of Ontario is very pleased that the ministry and the Minister quickly recognized the scope of the issue and have taken these steps to help the industries most affected,” said Guy Winterton, executive director of the Bait Association of Ontario. “Conservation of the fishery is critical to our livelihood, and we look forward to further talks with ministry staff to develop more direct and effective mechanisms that allow live release of large fish.”