Licences

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF) issues 3 types of fish culture licences on behalf of Alberta Environment and Parks. They fall under the authority of the Alberta Fisheries Act and its supporting regulation.

Recreational fish culture licence

This licence allows the holder to keep cultured fish, as specified, in the water body named on the licence. The licence is intended for the recreational, non-commercial use of the applicant. Fish cannot be sold under the authority of this licence.

Fees and application

Fees for a recreational fish culture licence are:

  • $10 per year
  • $50 for a 5-year period
  • plus $42 to have the water body inspected for new applicants or applicants who have allowed their licence to lapse for 1 year or more

The water body must be inspected to ensure it is:

  • situated on privately owned land
  • isolated from other water to the point that stocking fish will not adversely affect the environment or native fish

For more information and to apply, see:

Commercial A fish culture licence

This licence allows the holder to sell as well as keep live Category 1 species of fish as specified on the licence. It is intended for those operating fish for recreation, commercial and retail purposes.

Fees and application

The annual fee is $100. For more information and to apply, see:

Commercial B fish culture licence

This licence allows the holder to keep and sell live Category 1 and 2 species of fish to commercial and retail outlets only. The licensed premises are limited to contained waters.

Contained waters are:

  • held in a man-made aquarium or other impervious container that is normally housed within a building
  • OR held in a man-made reservoir that:
    • isolates the water in it from flowing into other water sources
    • is completely lined with an impervious material
    • is protected from predators

Fees and application

The annual fee is $100. For more information and to apply, see:

Commercial C fish culture licence

This licence allows co-operative fish licence holders to keep live Category 1 species of fish as specified on the licence. Fish may be harvested for a fee or sold to the public. All fish must be dead and accompanied by a bill of sale before being removed from the premises.

Fees and application

The annual fee is $100. For more information and to apply, see:

Licence details

Licensing time

First-time applications will usually be inspected and processed within 2 weeks. Allow 1 more week for delivery of the licence by mail. Unfavourable weather or poor field conditions may delay this process.

Other licences

In some instances, it will be necessary to obtain a licence to use and divert water before a fish culture licence can be issued. For more information, please call Alberta Environment and Parks, Water Approval at 780-427-5296 in Edmonton.

Restricted area

There is a geographic area in Alberta where special conditions apply due to the sensitive nature of the surrounding natural fisheries. An area roughly described as the southwest quarter of the province is restricted to stocking rainbow trout only. See the maps below.

   

If you are unsure as to the location of your water body in relation to these zones, please contact AF Aquaculture Licensing. See contact information below.

Leased land

You can obtain a licence for a pond located on land that you lease if the land is privately owned. Licences will not be issued for ponds located on public land.

Moving native fish

It is illegal to take, use or attempt to use live fish or fish eggs from public water for stocking a fish culture premises.

Jointly owned ponds

You can licence a pond that is jointly owned by you and your neighbour. Your neighbour must first sign the application form giving consent for you to operate a fish culture facility.

Cultured fish species

Table 1 shows the species of cultured fish eligible under each licence. The Licensing Section will not issue a licence for any species of fish not included in Table 1.

Goldfish and koi are considered cultured fish only if they are:

  • possessed at a location that is not within a person's principal residence
  • being kept for the purpose of selling wholesale

Table 1. Cultured Fish Eligible for Licensing

Category 1 Species for Recreational and Commercial A Category 2 Species for Commercial B Category 1 Species for Commercial C
Tilapia
Rainbow trout
Brook trout
Brown trout
Coho salmon
Freshwater prawn
Goldfish
Tilapia
American eel
Arctic char
Bigmouth buffalo fish
Barramundi
Koi
Rainbow trout
Brook trout
Brown trout
Rainbow trout
Brook trout
Brown trout

For information on fingerling fish suppliers, see:

Contact

To connect with Aquaculture Licensing:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-422-1472
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Fax: 780-422-4513
Email: janice.wilson@gov.ab.ca

Address:
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
Aquaculture Licensing
105 Agronomy Centre
6903 116 Street
Edmonton, Alberta  T6H 5Z2

To contact the Ag-Info Centre:

Hours: 8 am to 5 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Toll free: 310-3276 (FARM)