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Some Old Guy

Abandoning or allowing fish to spoil.

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Some Old Guy

There's a portion in the Summary stating that I am not allowed to abandon or allow fish to spoil.

What If I catch an out of season fish, or a walleye on lac that is under 13 inches and it dies.

How does this work?


R.T.R. Respect the resource!

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Guest MNR

There are two pieces of legislation at work here which seem to be at odds with each other. The Ontario Fishery Regulations say that a person who catches a fish, the retention or possession of which is prohibited by these Regulations shall immediately return the fish to the waters from which it was caught and, if the fish is alive, release it in a manner that causes the least harm. The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act says that a person who takes a fish whose flesh is suitable for human consumption cant abandon it or allow the flesh to spoil.

You initially appear to be caught between opposing laws. One says you can't possess the fish and the other says if you throw it away it will be considered wastage.

The fishing regulations however, clearly indicate that even fish accidentally killed must still be released in these circumstances. If anglers were allowed to keep undersized, oversized or out of season fish because they thought they were going to die, it would make those regulations completely unenforceable. Anglers could make that claim for every fish they otherwise wouldnt be allowed to keep. You must return the fish to the water (emphasis added).

Sometimes, an occasional unpossessable fish is seriously injured, due to no fault or negligence of the angler. If these fish are returned to the water, despite initial appearances they may ultimately survive, but if they're not returned, they have a zero percent chance of survival. If they dont survive, theyre going to be eaten by something else and contribute to the ecosystem. This is not a wastage situation.

If anglers are catching fish in such a manner that many undersized, oversized, or catch and release fish are being seriously injured (e.g., hauling them out of very deep water so their swim bladders force their stomach to protrude out of their mouth), they should be changing their location or fishing practices. There is the possibility an angler could be charged with wastage if they continued to catch and release fish that are obviously not surviving and did not change their location/angling method. Charging someone with wastage is usually for cases where there is clear neglect or intent.

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