In some areas of Ontario, it may be challenging for anglers and commercial bait operators to obtain and/or transport bait (e.g., where communities are in remote areas, where there may not be bait shops near their fishing destination, or in circumstances where the road networks do not align with BMZ boundaries).
To help address these challenges, MNRF is proposing regulatory changes that would enable the transport of preserved baitfish and leeches across BMZ boundaries, as well as allowing the temporary movement of live and dead baitfish and leeches out of and back into a BMZ so that they can be used in the BMZ they were acquired in (e.g., where road networks do not line up with BMZ boundaries).
As part of the consultation process, the ministry will need to determine what preservation methods would be permitted (e.g., salt, dehydration, isopropyl alcohol). If the regulations are amended to enable the transport of preserved bait, other consequential changes would be required to enable commercial operators to preserve their bait with salt, and to buy and sell bait that has been preserved with salt.
This proposal is intended to allow for additional flexibility for anglers and commercial bait operators while maintaining the ecological integrity that the BMZ framework provides. Enabling preserved bait to be transported to other BMZs may help address local supply issues in some areas, may assist remote tourism camps obtain dead baitfish for their clients (provided it has also been preserved), would allow anglers to preserve bait for use in another BMZ, and would enable the importation of preserved bait.
The consultation period will remain open until September 11, 2023.