Get a Fish Research Licence

Persons or agencies engaged in fish inventory or research must obtain a Fish Research Licence.


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) or a Research Licence – Pre-Approved Assessments and Savages (RL-PAAS).

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:

Get a Fish Research Licence

1. Learn the application process

To learn when the restricted activity periods are for in-stream activities, see:

Note: 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.

Read about Stop the Spread of Whirling Disease

2. Complete the appropriate Fish Research Licence (FRL) application form

If you will you be doing activities that are related to research or a fish and fish habitat assessment, complete the:

If you are 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:

For high volume fish and fish habitat assessments, or fish rescues over the entire season, a streamlined research licence opportunity is available.

For 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:

4. Notify area fisheries staff prior to starting field work

Prior to conducting field work, notify the area fisheries management office 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 the area fisheries contact.

Contact the Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Services offices

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:

If you find a species of fish not native to Alberta, you are required to notify the area fisheries contact.

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.

Review the FWMIS data submission guide and the examples of completed loadforms:

  • FWMIS Fisheries Loadforms
    • Complete the FWMIS Fisheries loadform.
    • Use the FWMIS Loadform Check Tool to ensure quality control and quality assurance of data submission. This tool scans data submissions for common errors and formatting issues and provides verification results as per database requirements.
    • Email the completed loadform as an attachment to the Fish and Wildlife Fisheries contact named on the FRL.
    • Note, 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.

Find the appropriate Fisheries and Wildlife Management Area Contacts