Fisheries Management

COVID-19 response: temporary closures

The Government of Alberta has temporarily closed front counters at all Fish and Wildlife offices across the province.

  • You can contact Fish and Wildlife offices using the phone numbers listed on the Fish and Wildlife - Contacts page.
  • For recreational sportfishing or hunting information, please visit AlbertaRELM or call the AlbertaRELM Help Desk at 1-888-944-5494.
  • Vehicle access is now permitted at parking lots and staging areas in provincial parks and public land. Facilities like playgrounds and washrooms remain temporarily closed. For more information, visit the Alberta Parks advisories page.

For more information about Alberta’s COVID-19 response, visit COVID-19 info for Albertans.

In conversations with Albertans, Alberta Environment and Parks recognized a growing interest in understanding fisheries management and opportunities to be involved. This interest lead to the development of a Fisheries Action Plan for 2018-19. The plan provides a commitment to work towards the following components:

  • Third-Party Scientific Review
  • Stakeholder Advisory Committee
  • Angler Education
  • Habitat Action Plan
  • Science Seminars
  • Citizen-Assisted Science

Additional updates and information about the plan will be posted further down on this page.

About Alberta Fisheries Management

Alberta’s fisheries management program follows the provincial Fish Conservation and Management Strategy and is built on an objective-based system which runs on scientific data and stakeholder input.

To learn the basics of how fisheries management works in Alberta, see:

Challenges to Alberta's Fisheries

The province has about 800 natural fish-bearing lakes and another 300 lakes that are stocked with trout. In comparison, other provinces, such as Saskatchewan, have tens of thousands of lakes. This means that Saskatchewan has 1.9 fishers for every lake, while Alberta has 375 fishers for every lake.

Additional challenges to fisheries management include:

  • short growing seasons that limit the productivity of fisheries
  • a relative lack of diversity in fish species

This results in sport fish species that are susceptible to being caught. With the provincial population's rapid growth and high demand on fisheries, managing resources is a challenge.

How Alberta's Fisheries are Managed

As the needs of Albertans change, so do management practices. Historically, fisheries have been managed with a focus on commercial fishing and feeding mink farms. This approach resulted in declines in some fish populations. Today, fisheries are managed with the needs of multiple stakeholders in mind, including Indigenous peoples, recreational fishers and even some competitive fishing events.

Fisheries Management Objectives (FMOs)

Fisheries management begins with science-based stock assessments and using standardized protocols for repeatable and comparable results. Based on assessments and consultations with stakeholders, Fish Management Objectives (FMOs) are set based on one of four categories:

  • Ecosystem Conservation
  • Habitat Conservation
  • Indigenous Fishery
  • Recreational Fishery

FMOs are the focal point of the management framework for a fish species.

Frameworks will identify the types of management objectives available to define the types of fisheries desired and link those to the tools that will most effectively help achieve those objectives.

Engaging Albertans

Alberta Environment and Parks is committed to open and honest dialogue on fisheries management through providing science-based information and involving the public in management decisions.

Ways in which Albertans are involved include:

  • participating in online and in-person surveys
  • public meetings and workshops
  • committees
  • other forums

Getting involved in a non-governmental stakeholder group interested in fisheries provides additional opportunities.

Fisheries Stakeholder Advisory Committee

In Spring 2018, as part of the Fisheries Action Plan, Alberta Environment and Parks formed a new fisheries stakeholder advisory committee. This committee, supported by a diverse group of fisheries stakeholders, has been set up to obtain advice and foster collaboration in the conservation and management of Alberta’s recreational fisheries and fish habitats. The commitment of the committee is to respectfully work together, in an open and transparent way, for the collective good of recreational fisheries. The Terms of Reference for the committee will be made available once finalized.

Meeting Updates

The October meeting of the Fisheries Advisory Committee was a productive meeting with numerous presentations and active discussion.

  • A conversation on the third-party review of the Northern Pike and Walleye frameworks occurred and the committee had its first opportunity to discuss and influence what they felt the review should focus on.
  • Habitat weighed heavily on the agenda as the committee received an update on habitat related initiatives and the roles of multiple regulators.
  • A presentation on the Roadway Watercourse crossing program and progress to date was provided. If you would like more information on this program, visit the Government of Alberta website at:
  • The committee also recognized the need to increase its internal and external communications through the formation of a communications task team. Stay tuned to see the results of their efforts.

The next Committee meeting is scheduled for November 26, 2018 and will focus on the third-party review.

Related Information

Updated: Jul 7, 2020