Bait Management Strategy
The Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry (MNDMNRF) is implementing Ontario’s Bait Management Strategy as of January 1, 2022. This will impact the way anglers use, transport, and harvest bait in Ontario. The strategy applies to baitfish and leeches (live or dead) but does not include crayfish, frogs, or worms. The province will be divided into four Bait Management Zones (BMZ) with restrictions on the transportation of baitfish or leeches into or out of a BMZ (MNDMNRF details here).
What does it mean for anglers?
Anglers can still harvest, transport, and use bait in the zone where they live, but must show proof of purchase (receipt) when fishing outside of their home BMZ. In these instances, baitfish and leeches expire two weeks after purchase and anglers will be required to legally dispose of any unused bait.
What is the OFAH doing?
For nearly a decade, the OFAH has been actively engaged in bait management in Ontario. We participated on the Ministry’s Bait Review Advisory Group, attended stakeholder sessions, submitted official responses, and continue to advocate on behalf of Ontario anglers. The bait strategy does not address the root of the problem associated with aquatic invasive species and fish-based diseases via the bait pathway. More investments are needed to enhance enforcement and deal with non-compliance, as well as greater commitments towards education, outreach, and awareness initiatives. Read our past submissions below for more details. The OFAH has been on the frontlines of this issue from the beginning, pushing back where needed, and will continue to engage the Ministry as the bait strategy is fully implemented over the coming years.
Past OFAH submissions on the Provincial Bait Review
June 23, 2017 EBR 012-9791 Strategic Policy for Bait Management
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