Strategic Policy for Bait Management in Ontario

Regulation Number(s):
O.Reg. 664/98: Fishing Licensing
Instrument Type:
Bill or Act:
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, and Ontario Fisheries Regulations under the Federal Fisheries Act
Summary of Decision:
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.
Further Information:
Proposal Number:
Posting Date:
February 27, 2017
Summary of Proposal:
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.
Contact Address:
Effective Date:
September 30, 2019