Manitoba streamlines fishing licence regulations


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BRANDON — New streamlined regulations are meant to ease the burden on anglers looking to obtain a fishing licence, starting this spring, according to the province.

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BRANDON — New streamlined regulations are meant to ease the burden on anglers looking to obtain a fishing licence, starting this spring, according to the province.

Under the new rules, a single annual angling licence will replace the former “conservation” and “regular” categories, and a new one-day angling licence will also be available.

The changes stem from results of the Manitoba government’s consultation efforts, including a survey, as well as meetings and events with stakeholders and the public to solicit feedback, officials said Wednesday.

Key themes included: enhanced protection of fish populations; opportunities to fish year-round for some species; increased officer presence and enforcement of angling regulations; and the risk of spreading aquatic invasive species.

Natural Resources and Northern Development Minister Greg Nesbitt said the recreation angling strategy was developed with that feedback in mind.

“These (changes) are something that our stakeholders asked for,” he said Wednesday. “Their opinions on these topics were certainly considered and put into motion here.”

Under the regulations, which come into effect April 1, seniors, as well as active military members and veterans, will no longer need to hold an angling licence. Instead, they will be required to provide identification to conservation officers, upon request.

It was important for the province to ease the process for the 22,000 seniors who take part in recreational fishing, Nesbitt said.

That age group have never had to pay for an angling licence, but still needed to apply for one online. With that step now eliminated, Nesbitt hopes more will take up fishing and, in turn, become healthier and more active.

“For a lot of seniors, going online didn’t work well for them. They had to get family and friends to do it for them. So, we think that’s a great change for them.”

Honouring veterans and active military members by removing the need for them to apply for angling licences is something Nesbitt said he worked closely on with Brandon East MLA Len Isleifson.

As the special envoy for military affairs, Isleifson said one of his goals is to work with military and veterans organizations to ensure members have access to enjoyable, fulfilling recreation.

“I know their jobs can be pretty stressful,” the Tory MLA said. “Why not give them some free fishing when they have some downtime?”

Other regulation changes announced Wednesday ( include: allowing open fishing year-round for certain abundant species; increased protection for large spawning fish and for certain species to protect high-value fish; amending ice-fishing shelter requirements; and creating consistent residency definitions for anglers, hunters and trappers.

Brandon Sun

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