Regulations Amending the Ontario Fishery Regulations, 2007: SOR/2020-276
Canada Gazette, Part II, Volume 154, Number 26
SOR/2020-276 December 16, 2020
P.C. 2020-1056 December 14, 2020
Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, pursuant to section 43 footnote a of the Fisheries Act footnote b, makes the annexed Regulations Amending the Ontario Fishery Regulations, 2007.
Regulations Amending the Ontario Fishery Regulations, 2007
1 Subsection 1(1) of the Ontario Fishery Regulations, 2007 footnote 1 is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order:
plant-based bait means either
- (a) bait that is made exclusively from plants; or
- (b) bait that is made primarily from plants if the following conditions are met:
- (i) it does not contain visible pieces of fish, animal parts or animal ingredients;
- (ii) it does not have natural or artificial meat or fish flavouring; and
- (iii) any poultry eggs that are incorporated are used as a binding agent. (appât d’origine végétale )
2 Section 28 of the Regulations is replaced by the following:
28 (1) No person shall release or deposit, or attempt to release or deposit, into any waters, or within 30 m of any waters, any of the following:
- (a) live or dead bait or baitfish, including fish eggs, gametes or parts; or
- (b) the water, soil or other materials in the container used to hold the materials set out in paragraph (a).
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply in respect of plant-based bait.
(3) Paragraph 1(b) does not apply to water that is taken from the waters where the person is fishing, used in either a recirculating device attached to or forming part of a fishing vessel or a moveable container holding bait or baitfish, and deposited back into the same waters or within 30 m of those waters.
3 (1) Subsection 32(1) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:
32 (1) Subject to subsections (2) to (5), no person shall angle with more than one line.
(2) Section 32 of the Regulations is amended by adding the following after subsection (4):
(5) A person who is angling for common carp may use up to three lines in the waters of fisheries management zones 12 to 20, if all of the following conditions are met:
- (a) the person is using plant-based bait or synthetic corn;
- (b) if the person is angling from a fishing vessel, all of the lines used by the person are on that vessel with the person; and
- (c) if the person is not angling from a fishing vessel, each line used by the person is within two metres of another line used by the person.
Coming into Force
4 These Regulations come into force on the day on which they are registered.
REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT
(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)
Issues: Currently, anglers in Ontario are prohibited from fishing for carp from shore with more than one line. Anglers have asked for the use of multiple lines to be permitted to make the Ontario Fishery Regulations, 2007 (OFRs) more consistent with other jurisdictions, and to allow anglers to have greater success when fishing for Common Carp in Ontario.
Furthermore, the OFRs prohibit the emptying of bait containers into waterways. This is in place to reduce the risk of the spread of invasive species and disease by transferring fish and other live bait across waterbodies. The current wording of this regulation creates confusion about baiting or chumming with low-risk materials like corn or other plant-based material that do not present any ecological risk.
Description: The amendments to the OFRs will
- allow the use of up to three lines when fishing for Common Carp in Fisheries Management Zones 12 to 20;
- clarify the bait permitted for “chumming”; and
- clarify provisions surrounding depositing of bait.
Rationale: The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) has consulted on the issue extensively with stakeholders and there is overall support by the MNRF’s major stakeholders.
The amendments, which are designed to mitigate any ecological risk, present no costs while providing some benefits. Over time, it is expected that more carp anglers will travel to Ontario from Europe and the United States, providing socio-economic benefits in the areas where the species exists. The amendments will benefit some small businesses, including several fishing guide services and tourism businesses that focus on carp anglers. The amendments may encourage more anglers to engage in carp angling and raise the fishery’s profile in the province.
The Ontario Fishery Regulations, 2007 (OFRs), prohibit anglers from fishing for Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio) [carp], from shore or from a boat, using more than one line. Additionally, the OFRs prohibit the emptying of bait containers into waterways to reduce the risk of the spread of invasive species and disease by transferring fish and other live bait across waterbodies. The current wording within the OFRs creates confusion about baiting or “chumming” with low-risk materials like corn. These two restrictions have been cited as barriers to the growth of the small carp fishery in Ontario despite healthy and robust carp populations in the province.
Under a long-standing agreement with the federal government, the Government of Ontario manages the province’s freshwater fisheries through the OFRs, made pursuant to the federal Fisheries Act. All amendments to the OFRs must be made by the Governor in Council (GiC). Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (the MNRF) is the provincial government body responsible for fisheries and wildlife management in Ontario. The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans recommends to the GiC at the request of the MNRF’s Minister that amendments to the OFRs be made.
Carp are not native to Ontario; they were introduced to North America from Europe over 100 years ago. Their ability to adapt to a range of environments, as well as their ability to thrive in shallow, warm-water lakes and rivers, has allowed them to establish abundant populations across much of southern Ontario, where they are considered a naturalized species. Their large size (up to 15–20 kilograms) and power provide excellent angling experiences.
Recreational fishing is very important both socially and economically to the people of Ontario. Ontario’s recreational fisheries supports a robust sport fishing and tourism industries which are the mainstay of some rural and northern communities. There are more than 1.12 million licensed anglers in Ontario adding more than $1.6 billion to the economy each year with approximately 1 600 resource-based tourism businesses.
The use of more than one line while fishing for carp is a popular technique used by carp anglers in other jurisdictions. Some anglers utilize sophisticated gear and rod holders while others use more rudimentary gear and holders. Anglers and stakeholders have asked for the use of multiple lines to be allowed to make the OFRs more consistent with other jurisdictions, and to enable anglers to have greater success when fishing for carp in Ontario.
Currently, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and New York are American states that border Ontario and allow anglers to use up to three lines for any species. Other states like Ohio, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine allow the use of two lines. Tourism operators and angling guides who cater to overseas carp anglers have indicated that the current regulations are a barrier to attracting anglers to Ontario. In addition, organizers of competitive fishing events targeting carp, including the international World Carp Championships, have also indicated that Ontario’s current regulatory framework is a barrier to holding their event in Ontario. Increasing these tourism opportunities by amending the regulations to allow for multiline carp fishing will provide direct tourism benefits and increase the profile of carp fishing in Ontario. Providing for this opportunity could have the potential to provide much-needed relief to hard hit resource-based tourism operators as a result of shut downs and other restrictions from COVID-19.
Baiting an area or “chumming” is a common practice among carp anglers. Organic, primarily plant-based materials are deposited in an area to attract carp, increasing the likelihood of catching carp on a baited hook. Currently, the OFRs prohibit the emptying of bait containers into waterways to reduce the risk of the spread of invasive species and disease by transferring fish or other live bait across waterbodies. The current wording within the OFRs creates confusion about baiting or chumming with low-risk materials like corn. The OFRs are amended to clarify the intent of preventing the spread of invasive species, aquatic organisms and diseases while allowing low-risk activities to occur. Allowing the use of multiple lines when fishing for carp without addressing “chumming” would be ineffective and could create situations of unintentional noncompliance.
The OFRs are amended to
- 1. enable the use of up to three lines while fishing for carp in Fisheries Management Zones 12 to 20 within Ontario, and in a manner that reduces the risk of catch and mortality of other fish species; and
- 2. clarify the existing regulations as they relate to depositing bait in the water to maintain the protection against invasive species, aquatic organisms and disease while allowing low-risk activities, such as chumming with low-risk materials, to occur.
The amendments to subsection 32(5) of the OFRs allow the use of up to three lines when fishing for carp in Fisheries Management Zones 12 to 20, the areas where carp are known to occur. There are three conditions tied to the use of multiple lines in the water.
- 1. In order to mitigate the risk of bycatch exceeding acceptable levels, as a result of using multiple lines to fish for carp, anglers must use one of the following for bait; synthetic corn or plant-based baits, which are less attractive to other sport fish, as set out in paragraph 32(5)(a) of the OFRs.
- 2. If angling from a fishing vessel, all the lines being used must be in the boat with the angler
- 3. Anglers using multiple lines, and not angling from a fishing vessel must also ensure each line is within 2 metres of each other. This condition is in place to limit the amount of area a single angler can occupy; thereby reducing their individual footprint and overall crowding.
Section 28 of the OFRs is amended to clarify which baits are allowed and which ones are prohibited. The release of live bait or live baitfish is prohibited in order to reduce the spread of invasive species, aquatic organisms and diseases. Baiting an area, commonly referred to as “chumming,” is a typical method for carp fishing. In order to fulfill the overall intent of the proposal, this section is clarified to enable chumming with certain low-risk materials (i.e. those that present little known risk of spreading invasive species, aquatic organisms or diseases). This amendment would clarify the intent of preventing the spread of invasive species, aquatic organisms and diseases while allowing low-risk activities to occur (e.g. baiting with corn or other plant-based materials) This element of the proposal would apply across the province, regardless of the number of lines or target species, although the type of bait allowed appeals mainly to carp.
The primary concern the MNRF has heard regarding the use of multiple lines is the risk of increased bycatch and harvest of other sport fish species such as Walleye and Northern Pike. While the techniques used by anglers targeting these species can be similar to those used in carp angling, the types of baits used differ greatly. By restricting multi-line anglers to baits commonly used in carp angling, this risk of incidental catch and harvest can be largely mitigated. Other than the restrictions on chumming, anglers choosing to fish for carp with a single line are not subject to any additional restrictions. Furthermore, the geographic extent of the amendments is limited to the portions of the province where carp fishing opportunities are available. As such, there are no changes or increased risks in the areas of the province where carp fisheries are not present (primarily northern Ontario).
An online information bulletin (ERO number 019-0130) was posted on the Environmental Registry of Ontario from June 13, 2019, to July 29, 2019. This bulletin contained information for the public regarding the background and policy objectives of the proposed regulatory amendments. It also provided the public with supporting materials and contact information to provide feedback and comments. In addition, the MNRF used various social media to distribute information about the proposal.
In addition to the public postings, letters were sent to many key stakeholders in Ontario directing them to the proposal. In addition, MNRF staff highlighted the proposal to Fisheries Management Zone advisory councils in Fisheries Management Zones 6, 10,15, and 17.
MNRF received a total of 86 comments on this proposal. Most of the respondents (84%) supported the proposal, either as-is or in some cases with revisions. Most stakeholders indicated support for expanding the use of multiple lines and clarifying the chumming aspect of the proposal for different reasons, but primarily for economic considerations. The MNRF’s major stakeholders, including the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) as well as the Toronto Urban Fishing Ambassador (TUFA), were supportive of the proposal but had specific suggestions. The OFAH recommended that the proposal not be limited in geographic scope and suggested listing prohibited baits. TUFA, which represents approximately 2 000 anglers, was very supportive of the amendments and was encouraged by the proposal to promote a unique fishing opportunity from shore in the Greater Toronto Area. However, it did recommend that only two lines should be permitted due to safety concerns for young or novice anglers and the challenge associated with managing multiple lines. Young and novice anglers may need some assistance while using multiple lines; this concern can be mitigated through communication and messaging. Anglers, regardless of age or skill level, may still angle for carp with one line.
The amendments to the OFRs were not prepublished in the Canada Gazette, Part I, given the MNRF’s extensive and recent consultation activities and the overall support by the MNRFs major stakeholders including the OFAH and the TUFA.
Modern treaty obligations and Indigenous engagement and consultation
The amendments do not apply to, take effect in, and/or take place adjacent to a geographic area subject to a modern treaty. As such, there are no identified modern treaty implications.
However, there are Indigenous communities near or adjacent to popular carp fishing locations in Ontario and these locations do overlap with traditional territories. As such, in 2019, the MNRF sent letters to all Indigenous communities in Ontario, as well as a number of Indigenous organizations. The letter outlined the proposed regulatory amendments and offered communities a chance for further engagement. Information on the Environmental Registry notice was also provided.
No comments were received from Indigenous communities and organizations. The amendments are intended to apply only to anglers fishing under the authority of a recreational fishing licence and should not impact rights-based fishing activities. Generally, interest in carp from Indigenous communities is believed to be quite low.
The MNRF considered several options to enable the use of multiple lines for carp. Alternative policy or licensing options were considered, however, none of these options were suitable given that there was no legal mechanism for the provincial Minister to enable the use of multiple lines.
Consideration was given to the number of permitted lines that the regulations should enable. A review of the rules on the American side of Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and Lake Huron confirmed that New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin allow the use of up to three lines, regardless of species.
Additionally, many carp anglers, especially international carp anglers, are accustomed to using multiple lines. The MNRF carefully consider ecological and social concerns (i.e. public safety and crowding) and angler expectations with regard to the number of lines to permit in the regulations. A decision was made to allow up to three lines to provide greater flexibility for anglers to participate in this fishing opportunity regardless of experience and skill, while still maintaining ecological protections.
Ontario’s carp fishery is best described as a relatively small, niche fishery that is largely focused in a few small areas of the province (e.g. St. Lawrence River, Otonabee River). According to the 2015 Recreational Fishing Survey of Canada, in Ontario, anglers spent $876 million in direct expenditures in 2015 and $1.4 billion was invested in major purchases and investments that could be wholly or partly attributable to recreational fishing. There were an estimated 8 000 anglers who targeted carp in Ontario; in comparison, there were over 1.1 million active anglers in the province. This equates to less than 1% (0.7%) of Ontario anglers targeting carp.
In 2015, there were over 197 000 licensed non-resident anglers from the United States of America (U.S.) and other countries including the United Kingdom and Europe who fished in Canada. While the Survey does not capture where within Canada these anglers had fished, nor the species being fished, the MNFR is anecdotally aware of carp anglers who travel to Ontario from Europe and the U.S. These dedicated anglers have the potential to provide socio-economic benefits in the areas where the species exists. The amendments benefit some small businesses, including several fishing guide services and tourism businesses that focus on carp anglers, that could now have an opportunity to fully realize their business potential. Additionally, the amendments make Ontario more appealing as a possible location for the international World Carp Championships; it is anticipated such events will bring economic benefits to the host area.
The regulations are expected to mainly benefit existing carp anglers and tourism operators who target this fisher group. However, the amendments may encourage more anglers to engage in carp angling and raise the fishery’s profile in the province. The amendments have the potential to increase Ontario’s profile as a carp fishery destination and attract more anglers. The additional clarity surrounding chumming is also beneficial to other anglers throughout the province, regardless of the number of lines or target species. Chumming with baits is proposed to be permitted when using multiple lines and presents little risk of spreading invasive species or fish pathogens.
The amendments have been drafted purposefully to mitigate potential ecological risks. The proposal reduces the risk of catching non-target species by restricting the baits and lures anglers can use when fishing with multiple lines to those most commonly used when fishing for Common Carp. Specifically, plant-based baits would be permitted, but the use of artificial lures, artificial flies, dead fish, baitfish, leeches, frogs, crayfish, worms and roe would be prohibited. By design this reduces potential of non-target species and also reduces the risk of spreading invasive species, aquatic organisms and/or disease introduction and spread etc.
The amendments have no anticipated costs to Canadian businesses or consumers. There are no increased costs to anglers as part of the proposal. Anglers may choose to invest in additional fishing equipment to utilize this opportunity, but these expenditures are entirely voluntary.
The only costs associated with the amendments will be borne by the MNRF and are related to staff resources associated with communications and enforcement activities. Enforcement activity is expected to increase as more anglers come to Ontario once the limit on the number of lines is increased to up to three lines. However, these costs are expected to be negligible and would be funded through existing resources.
Small business lens
The amendments will not create new regulatory costs for small businesses. The amendments are aligned with the three principles associated with the Cabinet directive and the Policy on Limiting Regulatory Burden on Business.
In accordance with the Cabinet Directive on Regulation, the one-for-one rule is not applicable, as the amendments do not increase administrative burdens on business. Therefore, an offsetting plan is not required. The amendments are enabling in nature and would positively impact small tourism businesses that target carp anglers.
Regulatory cooperation and alignment
This proposal is not part of or related to a workplan or commitment under a formal regulatory cooperation forum.
Strategic environmental assessment
In accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals, a preliminary scan concluded that a strategic environmental assessment is not required.
Gender-based analysis plus
No gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) impacts have been identified for this proposal as the amendments will affect all anglers equally. There are no known barriers prohibiting groups from equally participating in the use of multiple lines for carp fishing or from benefiting from clarifications with regard to chumming. Individuals, regardless of gender, sexuality, age or economic status are required to obtain a fishing licence and follow the rules associated with these amendments.
During the consultation, the TUFA, while supportive of the proposal, did raise safety concerns for the use of multiple rods for young or novice anglers. While this is a relevant concern, young or novice anglers are not required to use multiple lines. They may still participate in carp angling with one line until such time that there is a greater comfort level to use multiple lines, if they choose to do so. Additionally, to reduce social concerns like crowding and potential safety issues, the proposal requires that each line that is used by the same person must be within two metres of each other. MNRF will develop a set of best management practices for anglers engaging in carp fishing with multiple lines.
Implementation, compliance and enforcement, and service standards
Once approved, the regulations will come into force on the day they are registered and the regulations will effectively be implemented. The MNRF has been preparing communication strategies to ensure that both anglers and tourism operators alike are aware of this new angling opportunity. This strategy includes developing messaging for the MNRF’s social media, including Facebook and Instagram. The new rules will be communicated in the Recreational Fishing Regulations Summary as well as the MNRF’s interactive mapping tool, Fish ON-Line.
Compliance and enforcement
The Enforcement Branch of the MNRF will ensure that conservation officers (fisheries officers) are made aware of amendments to the OFRs. As noted above, efforts will be made to ensure anglers are aware of the new rules to ensure compliance with the law. As part of their normal patrol activities or in response to tips information, conservation officers will inspect anglers to determine compliance with the applicable rules. In the case of non-compliance, officers will use their discretion and determine the appropriate response. The MNRF’s compliance continuum outlines a spectrum of approaches that may be taken to encourage compliance or respond to an incident of non-compliance. The approaches range from education and warnings to enforcement action (prosecution). At this time, an amendment to the Contraventions Regulations to reflect this proposal is not being pursued. Therefore, offenders will be prosecuted through the federal criminal process until such time that an amendment to the Contraventions Regulations can occur.
Fish and Wildlife Legislative Specialist
Fish and Wildlife Policy Branch
Ontario Ministry of Natural and Forestry