Competitive Fishing Events

A competitive fishing event is a competition involving 26 or more anglers where prizes are awarded based on fishing success — for example, on the size or weight of fish caught. The three categories of competitive fishing event — small, medium and large — are defined by their total prize values and number of participants.

Competitive fishing events often raise funds for important causes, and as anyone who has ever participated in one can tell you, they're also a lot of fun. But there is some potential downside to competitive fishing events, as the increased angling pressures associated with them can have significant impacts on fish populations.

Renewing Alberta’s Approach to Competitive Fishing Events in 2021

Licensing for competitive fishing events was introduced in 2006 to help reduce these impacts and safeguard the long-term sustainability of the province's fisheries. Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) is updating the current approach to regulating competitive fishing events in Alberta to modernize and meet the emerging needs of this activity with a view to ensuring the conservation of healthy, sustainable fish populations. AEP will be reviewing current assessments of fish mortality associated with catch, photograph and release fishing tournaments, as well as the potential risks to fish populations associated with online application-based events that occur at multiple waterbodies. Public engagement will occur to discuss the proposed changes after these assessments have been completed.

A primary intent of the approach taken to licensing and regulation of competitive fishing events is the need to assess and manage the effects of these events on a fish population, in consideration of other uses. Fish are allocated in order of the following priority ranks:

  1. Conservation
  2. Indigenous use (for food)
  3. Recreational use
  4. Commercial use

Competitive fishing is a form of economic or commercial use, and therefore is in the lowest priority category for the allocation of fish.

Competitive fishing events requiring a licence must meet several criteria, including being an organized fishing competition that takes place at a single, specified body of water for one or more species of fish. Other types of competitive fishing events organized via on-line applications held at multiple unspecified waterbodies for one or more species of fish do not meet these criteria and thus do not currently require a licence or permit from AEP.

Generally, AEP applies standard sets of conditions to competitive fishing events; however, the use of these conditions in combination with the rules set out by event organizers means that licences may have different conditions based upon the allocation priorities and the following considerations:

  • The type of event, time of year for an event, organizer rules and the number of participants.
  • Fisheries Management Objectives – licence conditions for a waterbody that has a liberal harvest management objective may not be as restrictive in relation to a waterbody managed to achieve a sustainable harvest or high quality objective.
  • Similar types of competitive fishing events are regulated in a similar manner.

AEP encourages anyone planning to host any style of competitive fishing event, from an on-line application-based tournament to a more traditional weigh-in style, to ensure the event aligns with current licencing guidelines. For more information on competitive fishing, events please see the resources below or contact your local fisheries biologist.

Forms

Licence Conditions for Competitive Fishing Events

List of Specified Penalty Ticket Amounts – 2018 Addition

As part of Alberta’s ongoing commitment to protecting our natural landscape and important water resources, enforcement officials will be better armed to issue fines without a mandatory court appearance for Fisheries (Alberta) Act abuses starting May 31, 2018. One important addition that will come into effect is to ensure better compliance and enforcement tools are in place so that all competitive fishing event participants are aware of the terms and conditions of the event.

Below is an additional Fisheries (Alberta) Act offence and the corresponding specified penalty ticket amount that will come into effect on May 31, 2018. The amounts listed below include the victim fine surcharge. A victim surcharge is a monetary penalty imposed on offenders at the time of sentencing. These funds are used to provide programs, services and assistance to victims of crime.

Legislation and Section Description/ Particulars Ticket Amount
Fisheries (Ministerial) Regulation 19.2 Competitive fishing event licence holder fail to provide copy of T & C of event licence to participants $172

Competitive Fishing Events (CFEs)
Best Management Practices

Frequently Asked Questions

Contacts for Competitive Fishing Event Licensing


Updated: Apr 27, 2021