New DFO App helps protect Ontario waterways from invasive species
November 30, 2018
Burlington, Ontario – The Baitfish Primer, a key guide from Fisheries and Oceans Canada that allows recreational fishers to identify legal and illegal live bait, is now available as a mobile app. The new app allows fish harvesters to take the guide with them anywhere and to easily identify which baitfishes are legal to use in Ontario’s waters.
Ensuring live bait is neither an invasive species that could damage the ecosystem, such as Asian carps, nor an endangered species that must be returned unharmed to the water, is a critical element in protecting the Great Lakes and all Ontario waterways.
The Baitfish Primer has long been one of DFO’s most requested publications. The new mobile app has a unique identification tool that can help anyone identify the baitfishes of Ontario. This tool is intended to be used by both novices and experts alike. Many small fishes may appear similar; however, upon closer inspection, most baitfish species can be distinguished from one another with relative ease.
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 is then shared with DFO and the Province of Ontario. Early detection is critical to Canada’s strategy to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. By reporting sightings, users are assisting the front-line efforts to protect Canada’s ecosystems from invaders.
Additionally, this app will help fish harvesters and cottagers:
- Understand the federal and Ontario 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.
“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. It is an innovative way to protect the Great Lakes and all Ontario’s waterways.”
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
“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. 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.”
Sophie Monfette, Coordinator, Invading Species Awareness Program