It is illegal to buy or sell angler-caught fish. That means all sport fish, bait fish and even a few invasive fish are illegal to buy and sell unless you have a licence from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. This also applies to the sale of roe (fish eggs), commonly from salmon, trout and sturgeon.
Bait harvesters, bait dealers and holders of commercial food fish licences are specially licensed to harvest, buy and sell fish from Ontario waters. If you buy from someone who isn’t licensed you are buying illegally. The fines start at $250 and can go up considerably.
The rules are in place to protect the public from eating fish that weren’t cleaned in an inspected facility and from moving fish illnesses or invasive species from one watershed to another.
You might not know it is also illegal to sell any fish that have been caught in Ontario with a sport fish licence, whether it’s fresh, frozen or mounted on the wall. The law doesn’t treat them any differently.
To report a natural resource violation, call the MNRF TIPS line at 1-877-847-7667 toll-free anytime, or contact your local MNRF office during regular business hours. You can also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).