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Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
In order to limit the risks of spreading COVID-19, recreational fishermen are called upon to respect the public health measures implemented by the various levels of government. Agents of the Sûreté du Québec could be called upon to intervene in the event of non-compliance with the rules of social distancing.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada also reminds you to respect the measures put in place by the managers of the various accesses (wharves or others). Port authorities, as infrastructure managers, have full authority to restrict access to the wharves during this exceptional situation.
Depending on the evolution of the situation, the rules in force for recreational fisheries could be modified in order to ensure compliance with government directives related to COVID-19.
Last updated: 2020-04-13
Fisheries and Oceans Canada is in charge of managing recreational fisheries for marine species, i.e., living in salt water. These fisheries, which do not require any permits, are practised in the Saguenay River and in the St Lawrence Estuary and Gulf.
Recreational fishing is an activity undertaken for pleasure and the catches must be only for the use of the person fishing. It is strictly forbidden to sell products from this fishery.
- Spring-summer Recreational Groundfish Fishery
- Winter Recreational Groundfish Fishery
- Recreational Pelagic Fishery
- Sport Fishing in Quebec
- Sport Fishing in freshwater in Quebec
For more information on recreational fishing, contact the Fisheries and Oceans office in charge of the fishing area:
|Geographical Area for Recreational Fishing Activity||Office in charge|
|St. Lawrence River’s North Shore||Sept-Îles|
|St. Lawrence River’s North Shore||Gaspé|
Recreational pelagic fishing is practiced without a license. However, you must respect the applicable rules:
- Recreational fishing for tuna or herring is prohibited at all time.
- It is permitted to catch and retain capelin without size restriction.
- Recreational fishing for capelin can be practiced at all times and there is no daily catch limit.
- For capelin fishing, all fishing gear is authorized, except trap nets, seine lines and mobile gear.
Mackerel : regulatory changes
New rules for the recreational mackerel fishery came into effect on May 26, 2021. These changes to the Atlantic Fishery Regulations, 1985 are:
- Closure of the recreational fishery each year between January 1 and March 31.
- Daily limit of 20 Atlantic mackerel per person in the recreational fishery.
- Minimum possession size of 26.8 cm.
- It is prohibited to fish for mackerel with more than five fishing lines or with a fishing line to which more than six hooks are attached.
The Department of Forests, Wildlife and Parks Québec is responsible for the sport fishing of freshwater fish and anadromous and catadromous species in Quebec waters (with or without tides).
Areas for coastal shellfish harvesting are monitored by the Government of Canada to ensure the healthiness of the shellfishes and species conservation.
Hence it is important to check if areas where you are planning to go and harvest are open to harvesting.
Sport fishing makes a valuable contribution to the quality of life and the development of our communities, generating significant economic benefits in Atlantic Canada and Quebec.
According to the 2005 national Survey of Recreational Fishing in Canada, it is estimated that more than 100 000 adult anglers fish in the marine waters of Atlantic Canada and Quebec, although this is likely an underestimate given that the Department does not have a database for this type of fishing.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada shares the responsibility of managing the recreational species with the provinces and territories, whose mandates may vary from province to province. An Operational Policy Framework was developed to regulate this activity.
Recreational Fisheries in Canada – An Operational Policy Framework
Fisheries and Oceans Canada