An Ontario fishing licence is not a “Carte blanche” document for the activity. There are rules and regulations that the licensee must comply with. Bob Mok points out that violators of fishing regulations will be subject to penalties – from expensive fines to confiscation of vehicles.
Earlier on, I wrote about the popular hobby of angling (fishing) in Canada. I elaborated on the various fishing methods and general requirements to obtaining a fishing license in Ontario.
Recently, I witnessed violations of fishing regulations by Chinese residents as well as citizens of other heritages. After talking to these people, I realised that they do not know where to locate the fishing regulations in Ontario or even bother to find them. They feel that a fishing license in their possession is enough to let them carry on with the activity without limitations. Creel limits, seasons, slot sizes, and fish sanctuary never enter their minds – neither are expensive fines and confiscation of vehicles when regulations are not followed and properties are seized by Fishery Officers.
I was fishing with my friend from shore during the last week of May in one of the Kawarthas Lakes near the City of Peterborough. An elderly Chinese gentleman was also fishing with his teenage daughter next to us. Upon catching a Large Mouth Bass (out of season), he simply placed it into his holding bucket along with other legitimate catches of sunfishes. This was in clear violation of the fishing regulations and witnessed not only by us but also other passing anglers. One of them told him to release the fish before I had a chance to do so. The violator simply ignored the advice and demand from the fellow angler. The annoyed angler was seen pulling out a cell phone as he walked away.
I explained to the arrogant angler (in Chinese) that fishing regulations must be followed and that there is a good chance that the other person was calling the Fishing Ministry Officers at that time. He claimed that he has a license and that means that he can catch and keep all fishes throughout the year. After 5 minutes of discussions, I finally impressed upon him that fines are stiff and vehicles are confiscated regularly when fishing regulations are violated and that a plead of ignorance of the regulations will not work in front of the Courts. This final point convinced him to “grudgingly” release his illegal catch.
Ontario publishes its fishing regulations yearly in multiple languages. Many bait and tackle shops in Chinese Communities carried a copy of the Chinese version for free pick-up by anglers. You can also download one from the Internet here:
Study the regulations well and carry a paper copy or electron copy on your cell phone for reference. You don’t want to ask your friend or family to pick you up after your vehicle is confiscated and you also have to pay a fine in the thousand dollars range. It will be very a very embarrassing event.
Regulations are necessary to ensure that we have a sustainable fishery for our future generations to enjoy. Scientists and conservationists constantly readjust the regulations based on field results to maximize our enjoyment of the sport, and we must all follow the regulations to help and achieve these goals.
Summer time is here, adhere to the fishing regulations and enjoy your fishing hobby. I know I will. See you out there on the Lake soon.
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