Safe, responsible fishing promoted

The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and the Ontario Conservation Officers Association are working together to promote the responsible use of Ontario’s fisheries during the upcoming open water fishing seasons.
As summer approaches, hundreds of thousands of anglers take to the water in search of the “the big one.”
At the same time, Ontario’s conservation officers also will be spending time outdoors—ensuring that anglers are following the rules regarding both angling and safe boating.
O.C.O.A. president Dan VanExan, a field CO in Peterborough District, and O.F.A.H. executive director, Mike Reader, who are both avid anglers, joined forces to urge outdoors enthusiasts to make sure they practise safe and responsible behaviour on the water.
“The O.F.A.H. has always believed that COs play an important role in the protection of our resources,” said Reader. “We welcome the opportunity to work with the O.C.O.A. to spread the message of conservation and responsible resource use.
“Our officers are constantly working to ensure that our waterways are safe, and that our fish populations remain healthy,” noted VanExan.
“We look forward to working with the O.F.A.H. to ensure that anglers obey the law while on the water,” he remarked.
Before heading out for a day of fishing, both the O.F.A.H. and O.C.O.A. recommend that anglers take a few minutes to make sure they are familiar with the following common regulations, found in the 2006 fishing regulations which are still in use until the 2008 regulations are released next year:
•most Ontario residents between the ages of 18 and 64 require a licence to fish, and must carry that licence with them when fishing;
•in most of Ontario, only one fishing line per person is allowed;
•seasons and catch limits vary across the province so be sure to check the regulations summary for rules in the area where you plan to fish;
•you must have one personal flotation device or life jacket for each person in the boat; and
•the boat also must be equipped with the proper safety equipment (a paddle or anchor, bailing bucket, sound signalling device, and buoyant heaving line are mandatory on most fishing boats, including canoes).
“Our officers want to make sure that everyone obeys the laws, to maintain the quality of our fisheries, and to make sure that we don’t have needless tragedies on our lakes and rivers,” said VanExan.
The O.F.A.H. agrees with the need to follow the rules this summer.
“The O.F.A.H. has the utmost respect for both COs and the rules they enforce, and I encourage everyone to have a safe and enjoyable fishing season,” echoed Reader.