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 commercially sold under the authority of this licence.
Fees and application
Fees for a recreational fish culture licence are:
- $100 for a 5-year period
The water body must:
- be situated on privately owned land
- be isolated from other water to the point that stocking fish will not adversely affect the environment or native fish; or
- have fish barriers in place to prevent escapement of stocked species into native waters if connected to natural water courses. Fish barriers may require inspection every 5 years to ensure no fish are escaping into native waters.
When submitting a new application, the applicant acknowledges that all required fish barriers must be in working condition for the licence to be maintained. Failure to do so may result in the cancellation of current licences and denial of future licensing.
Any species listed on the Alberta Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) website or as prohibited species under the Fisheries (Alberta) Act can not be stocked in private or public waters. Aquarium fish, including goldfish, should never be released into any waters. Fry from many of these species can escape through fish barriers and compete with or feed on native fish stocks. Fish from the pet trade can also bring diseases into the pond that can affect stocked fish. Any prohibited AIS listed in the Fisheries (Alberta) Act must be reported to Alberta’s Invasive Species Hotline at 1-855-336-BOAT (2628) if found.
For more information and to apply, see the following documents:
- Application to Become a Recreational Fish Culturist (PDF, 572 KB)
- Best practices for recreational stocking of trout in Alberta
- Best practices for commercial fish culture facilities in Alberta
Commercial Fish Culture Licences
Commercial Fish Culture Licences are available to those who are interested in selling and holding cultured fish within Alberta. You must possess a commercial licence for fish to be held or harvested for a fee, or sold to the public. Commercial licences conditions are determined by the species they decide to raise and the intent of sale.
Fees and application
The annual fee for a commercial fish culture licence is $100. For more information and to apply, see:
- Application to Become a Commerical Fish Culturist (PDF, 579 KB).
First-time applications will usually be assessed within 30 days. All new recreational ponds with outflow to specified waters and commercial facilities will require an on-site inspection to ensure all fish barriers and bio-security requirements are in place prior to the issuing of a licence. Time frames for processes that include an on-site inspection may vary considerably, depending on the nature of the application and the existing knowledge available to inform the assessment of associated risks. Unfavourable weather or poor field conditions may delay this process. Allow 1 more week for delivery of the licence by mail.
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.
A person shall not import live fish or live fish eggs of a species specifically listed in Schedule 2 to the Ministerial Regulation unless that person has an aquatic species import licence that authorizes that importation.
You can obtain a licence for a pond located on land that you lease if the land is privately owned and stocking permissions have been obtained from the landowner. 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.
Latitude and longitude help
Cultured fish species
Table 1 shows the species of cultured fish eligible under each licence. A licensing will not be issued 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||Category 2 Species|
|Tilapia (contained waters only)
Bigmouth buffalo fish
Pacific White Shrimp
For information on fish suppliers, see:
- 2021 Alberta Suppliers of Category 1 Species (PDF, 478 KB)
Connect with Aquaculture Licensing:
Alberta Environment and Parks
9920 108 Street
Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2M4
Connect with the Environment and Parks Info Centre:
Hours: 8:15am am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Toll free: 310-3773 (within Alberta)