Recreational Fisheries

Recreational fisheries
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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:

Caption text
Geographical Area for Recreational Fishing Activity Office in charge
St. Lawrence River’s North Shore Sept-Îles
St. Lawrence River’s North Shore Gaspé
Magdalen Islands Cap-aux-Meules
Northern Quebec Sept-Îles

Recreational Pelagic Fishery

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.

Regulations Amending the Atlantic Fishery Regulations, 1985

Sport Fishing in Quebec

The Government of Quebec 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