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MNRF: Bait Policy and Open House Information

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:
a. Allocation
b. Equipment
c. Dormancy
d. Training
e. Reporting
f. Compliance
g. Harvest in Species at Risk areas
h. 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 – http://apps.mnr.gov.on.ca/public/files/er/strategic-policy-for-bait-management-in-ontario.pdf


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. Search 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. Search 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. Search 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. Search ER# 012-4222

Public Consultation:

This proposal has been posted for a 120 day public review and comment period starting February 27, 2017. If you have any questions, or would like to submit your comments, please do so by June 27, 2017 to the individual listed under “Contact”. Additionally, you may submit your comments on-line.

All comments received prior to June 27, 2017 will be considered as part of the decision-making process by the Ministry if they are submitted in writing or electronically using the form provided in this notice and reference EBR Registry number 012-9791.

Please Note: All comments and submissions received will become part of the public record. Comments received as part of the public participation process for this proposal will be considered by the decision maker for this proposal.

Your personal information may be used in the decision making process on this proposal and it may be used to contact you if clarification of your comment is required. It may be shared (along with your comment) with other Ontario Ministries for use in the decision making process. Questions about this collection should be directed to the contact mentioned on the Proposal Notice page.

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.

Public Open Houses

Public open houses will be held in the following locations:






May 23


Lexington Hotel,

50 Brady St., Sudbury


May 25


Ramada Inn,

1800 Riverside Dr., Timmins


May 29


Ramada Kingston Hotel,

33 Benson St., Kingston


June 8


Best Western Plus Lamplighter Inn,

591 Wellington Rd, South, London

Thunder Bay

June 12


Valhalla Inn Hotel,

1 Valhalla Inn Road, Thunder Bay


June 15


Clarion Lakeside Inn,

470 1st Avenue South, Kenora

 If you have any questions or comments that you like to share with RSMIN, Please email Consultation@rsmin.ca

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