Government of Canada / Gouvernement du Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada


Fisheries Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. F-14)

Full Document:  

Act current to 2021-06-03 and last amended on 2019-08-28. Previous Versions

Fisheries Act

R.S.C., 1985, c. F-14

An Act respecting fisheries

Short Title

Marginal note:Short title

 This Act may be cited as the Fisheries Act.

  • R.S., c. F-14, s. 1


Marginal note:Definitions

  •  (1) In this Act,


    Aboriginal[Repealed, 2019, c. 14, s. 1]


    analyst means a person who is designated under subsection 56.1(1) to perform the functions of an analyst; (analyste)

    Canadian fisheries waters

    Canadian fisheries waters means all waters in the fishing zones of Canada, all waters in the territorial sea of Canada and all internal waters of Canada; (eaux de pêche canadiennes)

    close time

    close time means a specified period during which fish to which it applies may not be fished, and “closed time” or “closed season” has a similar meaning; (période d’interdiction et période de fermeture ou saison de fermeture)


    commercial[Repealed, 2019, c. 14, s. 1]


    fish includes

    • (a) parts of fish,

    • (b) shellfish, crustaceans, marine animals and any parts of shellfish, crustaceans or marine animals, and

    • (c) the eggs, sperm, spawn, larvae, spat and juvenile stages of fish, shellfish, crustaceans and marine animals; (poissons)


    fishery with respect to any fish, includes,

    • (a) any of its species, populations, assemblages and stocks, whether the fish is fished or not,

    • (b) any place where fishing may be carried on,

    • (c) any period during which fishing may be carried on,

    • (d) any method of fishing used, and

    • (e) any type of fishing gear or equipment or fishing vessel used; (pêche)

    fishery guardian

    fishery guardian means a person who is designated as a fishery guardian pursuant to subsection 5(1); (garde-pêche)

    fishery officer

    fishery officer means a person who is designated as a fishery officer pursuant to subsection 5(1); (agent des pêches)

    fish habitat

    fish habitat means water frequented by fish and any other areas on which fish depend directly or indirectly to carry out their life processes, including spawning grounds and nursery, rearing, food supply and migration areas; (habitat)


    fishing means fishing for, catching or attempting to catch fish by any method; (pêche)

    fishing vessel

    fishing vessel means any vessel used, outfitted or designed for the purpose of catching, processing or transporting fish; (bateau de pêche)


    fishway means any device, work or other thing that provides for the free passage of fish, including a canal, a fish pump, a fish ladder, a fish elevator and a fish lock; (passe migratoire)


    Indigenous[Repealed, 2019, c. 14, s. 1]

    Indigenous governing body

    Indigenous governing body means a council, government or other entity that is authorized to act on behalf of an Indigenous group, community or people that holds rights recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982; (corps dirigeant autochtone)

    Indigenous peoples of Canada

    Indigenous peoples of Canada has the meaning assigned by the definition aboriginal peoples of Canada in subsection 35(2) of the Constitution Act, 1982; (peuples autochtones du Canada)


    inspector means a person who is designated as an inspector pursuant to subsection 38(1); (inspecteur)

    lawful excuse

    lawful excuse[Repealed, 1991, c. 1, s. 1]


    laws includes the by-laws made by an Indigenous governing body; (lois)


    Minister means the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans or, in respect of any matter related to the Northern Pipeline referred to in the Northern Pipeline Act, the member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada designated as the Minister for the purposes of that Act; (ministre)


    obstruction means any slide, dam or other thing impeding wholly or partially the free passage of fish; (obstacle)


    recreational[Repealed, 2019, c. 14, s. 1]


    vehicle means any conveyance that may be used for transportation, including aircraft. (véhicule)

  • (2) [Repealed, 2019, c. 14, s. 1]

  • R.S., 1985, c. F-14, s. 2
  • R.S., 1985, c. 35 (1st Supp.), ss. 1, 5
  • 1991, c. 1, s. 1
  • 2012, c. 19, s. 133, c. 31, s. 175
  • 2019, c. 14, s. 1


Marginal note:Purpose of Act

 The purpose of this Act is to provide a framework for

  • (a) the proper management and control of fisheries; and

  • (b) the conservation and protection of fish and fish habitat, including by preventing pollution.

Territorial Application

Marginal note:Application

  •  (1) This Act applies in Canada, and also to

    • (a) Canadian fisheries waters; and

    • (b) with respect to a sedentary species, any portion of the continental shelf of Canada that is beyond the limits of Canadian fisheries waters.

  • Marginal note:Definition of sedentary species

    (2) For the purpose of paragraph (1)(b), sedentary species means any organism that, at the harvestable stage, either is immobile on or under the seabed or is unable to move except by remaining in constant physical contact with the seabed or subsoil.

Indigenous Peoples of Canada

Marginal note:Rights of Indigenous peoples of Canada

 This Act is to be construed as upholding the rights of Indigenous peoples recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and not as abrogating or derogating from them.

Marginal note:Duty of Minister

 When making a decision under this Act, the Minister shall consider any adverse effects that the decision may have on the rights of the Indigenous peoples of Canada recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.


Marginal note:Considerations for decision making

 Except as otherwise provided in this Act, when making a decision under this Act, the Minister may consider, among other things,

  • (a) the application of a precautionary approach and an ecosystem approach;

  • (b) the sustainability of fisheries;

  • (c) scientific information;

  • (d) Indigenous knowledge of the Indigenous peoples of Canada that has been provided to the Minister;

  • (e) community knowledge;

  • (f) cooperation with any government of a province, any Indigenous governing body and any body — including a co-management body — established under a land claims agreement;

  • (g) social, economic and cultural factors in the management of fisheries;

  • (h) the preservation or promotion of the independence of licence holders in commercial inshore fisheries; and

  • (i) the intersection of sex and gender with other identity factors.

Date modified: