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Ministry requiring fishing bait to be kept in designated zones

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If you’re using live bait to fish, the province wants you to source it locally.

The province has created several Bait Management Zones (BMZ), which will restrict the movement of harvested baitfish and leeches. Our broadcast area has been labeled the Central BMZ, and includes Fishery Management Zone 15. This area covers Renfrew County, North Hastings, Algonquin Park, Muskoka and parts of Haliburton and Peterborough Counties.

Effective immediately, live or dead bait may not be transported into or out of a BMZ. Fishers must purchase baitfish and leeches from a licensed store in the BMZ where they are fishing. Bait must now be used within two weeks of purchasing them and receipts must be kept. Those who gather their own bait must do so in the BMZ they use them in.

The new rules have been made in an attempt to halt the spread of invasive species and fish diseases. Diseases like Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia have been known to affect the walleye, perch and bass populations in Ontario since it was detected in 2005.

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