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Due to the detection of whirling disease in the province, the Government of Alberta has developed a Decontamination Protocol for Watercraft and Equipment. The Decontamination Protocol is supported by General Fisheries (Alberta) Regulation section 3(1) and is expected for all stakeholders to follow in an effort to contain the detections of whirling disease with the affected areas.
Beginning July 1, 2018, the applications for Research Licenses will be updated to reflect changes in the Best Practices. Adherence to the most current version of the Alberta Decontamination Protocol for Watercraft and Equipment will now be Best Practice of License until April 1, 2019, when it will become a Condition of License. To access the Decontamination Protocol and supporting documents, see:
These new applications will be available July 1, 2018 and should be used for all future applications for Research Licenses.
Please note that Fisheries Biologists have the authority to add the Decontamination Protocol as a Condition at their own discretion based on the risk of spreading whirling disease.
Anyone (person, agency or institution) whose work involves collecting, holding or sampling fish for inventory, research, educational or promotional purposes in Alberta must obtain a Fish Research License (FRL).
Under the Federal Fisheries Act, "fish" includes:
- Parts of fish
- Shellfish, crustaceans, marine animals and any parts of shellfish, crustaceans or marine animals
- The eggs, sperm, spawn, larvae, spat or juvenile stages of fish, shellfish, crustaceans and marine animals
If you wish to conduct fish research in one of Alberta's provincial parks, you must contact the Alberta Parks Division directly.
Getting a Fish Research Licence
1. Learn the Application Process by Reading the FAQs
To learn when the restricted activity periods are for in-stream activities, see:
2. Complete the Appropriate Fish Research Licence (FRL) Application Form
Will you be doing activities that are related to research or a fish and fish habitat assessment? Complete the Fish Research Application Form for Research and Inventory:
Will you be collecting fish as part of a rescue operation with the purpose of avoiding fish mortality due to a natural event or authorized activity? Complete the Fish Research Licence Application Form for Fish Rescue:
- Fish Research Licence Application Form for Fish Rescue (DOCX, 71 KB)
Will you be doing activities that are neither Fish Rescue or Fish Research and Inventory (such as for Display or Bioassay purposes)?
3. Submit your Application to the Area Fisheries Contact
Email the completed FRL Application as an attachment to the Area Fisheries contact in the geographic area for where the survey/collection will be conducted.
To find the appropriate Area Fisheries contact, see the Fisheries Management Area Contacts map at:
4. Notify Area Fisheries Staff Prior to Starting Field Work
Prior to conducting field work, notify the Area Fisheries Management office and/or the Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Branch District office.
Providing notification before starting your field work allows staff to do site visits, and to respond appropriately if your activities are noticed and reported by the public.
Contact Fisheries staff at the contact information provided above.
Contact Fish and Wildlife Enforcement staff at the numbers provided here:
- Fish and Wildlife Enforcement District Contacts (PDF, 5.4 MB)
5. Follow Fisheries Sampling Standards and Guidelines
The following Sampling Standards and Guidelines are referenced in Conditions of Licence and are to be followed as per the License directions:
- Decontamination Protocol for Watercraft and Equipment
- Electrofishing Policy Respecting Injuries to Fish
- Fish Ageing Methods for Alberta
- Standard for Ageing Walleyes in Alberta
- Standard for Sampling Small Streams in Alberta
- Standard for Sampling Small-Bodied Fish in Alberta
- Standard for the Ethical Use of Fish in Alberta
If you find a species of fish that is not native to Alberta, you are required to notify the Area Fisheries contact. To view what species of fish are native to Alberta, see:
6. Submit data collected under the FRL back to the FRL issuer
All data collected under the authority of an FRL are required to be returned for submission into the Alberta provincial Fisheries and Wildlife Management Information System (FWMIS) database.
Learn about the data reporting process by reading the FWMIS overview.
Review the FWMIS data submission guide and the examples of completed loadforms.
Complete the FWMIS Fisheries loadform and email as an attachment to the Fish and Wildlife Fisheries contact named on the FRL. Note that any FRL issued requires a data return or notification that it was not used, otherwise the holder will be considered to be in non-compliance.
To find the appropriate Fish and Wildlife Fisheries contact, see the Fisheries Management Area Contacts map at: