Fisheries and Oceans Canada has launched their guide for identify legal and illegal live bait, the Baitfish Primer, as an app. The app allows fish harvesters to take the guide with them anywhere and to easily identifying whether a baitfish is legal to use in Ontario’s waters.
“This app gives Ontario’s recreational fish harvesters a valuable tool to help keep invasive species out of our waters and to protect endangered aquatic species,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard. “It is an innovative way to protect the Great Lakes and all Ontario’s waterways.”
Ensuring live bait is neither an invasive species that could damage the ecosystem, such as an Asian carp, nor an endangered species that must be returned unharmed to the water is a critical for protecting the Great Lakes and Ontario waterways.
The new mobile app has a unique identification tool that can help anyone identify the baitfishes of Ontario. The tool has been designed for use by both novices and experts.
“The Baitfish Primer has always been a highly requested guide by members of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters as well as the general public,” said Sophie Monfette, coordinator, Invading Species Awareness Program. “We’re happy to see it adapted for alternative platforms so that anglers and bait harvesters are at the forefront of preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species.”
The Baitfish Primer App also allows users to directly report any aquatic invasive species they find to the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters’ Invading Species Hotline and their online and mobile tool, EDDMapS Ontario. Information collected via this reporting is then shared with DFO and the Province of Ontario. Early detection is critical in the prevention of the spread of aquatic invasive species in Canadian waters. By reporting sightings, users are assisting the front-line efforts to protect Canada’s ecosystems from invaders.
The app will also help fish harvesters and cottagers:
- understand the federal and provincial legislation and regulations pertinent to the use of baitfishes;
- recognize the importance of baitfish habitat;
- understand the potential impacts of improper baitfish use; and,
- understand how to minimize impacts from aquatic invasive species and how to protect species at risk.
The App is available in English and French and is free to download. The Baitfish Primer was developed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada in partnership with the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and the Bait Association of Ontario.