Recreational Fisheries

Recreational fisheries
© Sylvie Lebeuf

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.

For more information on recreational fishing, contact the Fisheries and Oceans office in charge of the fishing area:


Geographical Area for Recreational Fishing Activity    

St. Lawrence River’s North Shore

St. Lawrence River’s South Shore

Magdalen Islands

Northern Quebec

Recreational Pelagic Fishery

Recreational pelagic fishing is practiced without a license. However, you must respect the applicable rules:

  • In the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence, it is permitted to catch and retain mackerel with a minimum size of 26.3 cm.
  • It is permitted to catch and retain capelin without size restriction.
  • Recreational fishing for mackerel and capelin can be practiced at all times and there is no daily catch limit.
  • Fishing gear authorized to fish for mackerel is the hand line or rod. For capelin, all fishing gear is authorized, except trap nets, seine lines and mobile gear.
  • Recreational fishing for shark, tuna or herring is prohibited at all time.

Sport Fishing in Quebec

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).

Sport fishing in Quebec 

Shellfish Harvesting

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.

Shellfish 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