Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

May 14, 2008 11:07 ET

Enforcement key to addressing harassment of anglers and hunters

Human Rights report focuses on harassment of Asian anglers

Attention: Assignment Editor, Environment Editor, News Editor, Sports Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor ONTARIO- ONTARIO FEDERATION OF ANGLERS AND HUNTERS--(Marketwire - May 14, 2008) - The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.), the largest nonprofit fish and wildlife conservation based organization in Ontario, with 83,000 members and 655 member clubs from all backgrounds and walks of life, believes that the release of a report by the Ontario Human Rights Commission yesterday, which focuses on the harassment of Asian anglers, reinforces the need for increased enforcement of the Fish & Wildlife Conservation Act which states that it is an offense to harass any angler or hunter while fishing or hunting, regardless of race or ethnicity.

"Section 13 (1) of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997 (F.W.C.A.) clearly states that it is illegal to interfere with anyone who is engaged in lawful hunting, trapping or fishing," said Mike Reader, O.F.A.H. Executive Director. "Anglers, hunters and trappers have frequently experienced harassment of some type, and the O.F.A.H. was instrumental in having this section included in the act for this very reason. The Commission, police agencies, conservation officers, government departments, outdoor groups and individual anglers and hunters all play a role in ensuring that everyone, regardless of race, is able to engage in lawful activities without fear of reprisal. In this case, this will involve both education about the law and enforcement of the fisheries regulations, which make it clear when you can fish, how you can fish, what you can fish for and most importantly, where and when you cannot fish in the interest of protecting fish stocks. For example, sanctuaries are designated as no fishing zones for this reason and must be respected."

Mr. Reader stated that it is imperative that all anglers and hunters read, understand and adhere to the regulations, which are released by the Ministry of Natural Resources each year, and that they are aware of the protections afforded to both anglers and the resource under the F.W.C.A. He also noted that it is critical that when violations occur, it is imperative that enforcement of the law, both by conservation officers and law enforcement officials occurs in a timely manner. "If a violation is reported, whether this involves harassment while fishing or a suspected violation of the regulations, enforcement of the Act and the regulations is crucial. Without enforcement, infractions will likely continue."

If you see someone breaking the law while fishing or hunting, don't take the law into your hands by challenging them directly. It is clearly the responsibility of the Ministry of Natural Resources to enforce their own regulations, and violations should immediately be reported to the District office, a Conservation officer, the TIPS line or the local O.P.P. detachment. "Enforcement by the M.N.R. or police is critical, and we know from one recent case where a violation was reported and investigation of the complaint occurred in a timely manner, that a charge was laid and conviction obtained," said Reader. "Fishing is a great leveler. Everybody, regardless of who they are, loves to fish and should have the opportunity to do so, in a safe and lawful manner while respecting conservation of the resource."

It is up to all anglers and hunters to ensure that fishing remains a safe and enjoyable activity, and that all participants understand and abide by the laws as set out under the F.W.C.A. and the fishing and hunting regulations. It's common courtesy and common sense. /For further information: Greg Farrant
Manager, Government Relations and Communications
705 748-6324 ext 236
705-875-0274/ IN: ENVIRONMENT, FISHERIES, POLITICS, SPORTS

Contact Information

  • Lezlie Goodwin, Communications Coordinator, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters
    Primary Phone: 705-748-6324 ext. 270
    Secondary Phone: 705-872-8053
    E-mail: lezlie_goodwin@ofah.org