The Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment has made changes for 2014 and onward to support fish conservation programs, client service and to ensure sustainability of the resource.
“To ensure that fishing remains a popular and accessible activity in Saskatchewan, we need to plan for the future,” Environment Minister Ken Cheveldayoff said. “These changes to our regulations will help protect our fish populations and offer anglers a wider range of angling experiences.”
A new one-day angling licence has been introduced as a convenience to occasional anglers in the southern and central zones. Automatic licence suspensions of one to five years for serious offences will be implemented in 2014 and fines for these offences will increase.
In 2015, Saskatchewan will offer an additional free fishing weekend during the winter to encourage participation in ice fishing. Free fishing weekends will take place on July 12 and 13, 2014, and on February 14 to 16, 2015.
To guard against the potential disease risk to fish populations, only leeches and crayfish originating within Saskatchewan may be used as live bait. Non-resident anglers must now provide proof to an officer, upon request, that their live bait was purchased in Saskatchewan.
A standard condition for competitive fishing event authorizations is that only fish listed in the regulations or on the licence are eligible to be kept and weighed in. This amendment clarifies that all fish species not authorized by the regulations or licence must be released immediately. In addition, an amendment to the definition of a tournament clarifies that fish caught must be released alive, to ensure that tournaments do not operate as derbies (catch and kill events).
Nobody other than a First Nation or Métis person, or a member of their immediate family, may assist, aid, fish with, or possess fish taken by an individual fishing for food pursuant to their Aboriginal or Treaty rights. This amendment is intended to support recognition and respect for Treaty and Aboriginal rights to fish, and prevent non-Aboriginals from taking or possessing more than their legal limit of fish.
More information about angling regulations can be found in the Saskatchewan Anglers’ Guide, available online at www.saskatchewan.ca/fishing.