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Wild Animal Law of Canada

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Fisheries Act (Manitoba)

(current to 01 September 2016)

Note Re Application of the Fisheries Act

This law is a merger of wildlife management (is recreational and commercial fishing) and fish marketing law. Most provinces include recreational fishing management in their general 'fish and game' (aka hunting, trapping and fishing) statute, and make a separate commercial fishing and marketing statute.

For purposes of the FA, 'fish' includes "any freshwater or saltwater fish, shellfish, crustaceans or aquatic invertebrates" [FA 1].

This law bears on the wildlife issues of:
  • OWNERSHIP AND POSSESSION
  • ADMINISTRATION
  • SALE
  • TRANSPORTATION
  • HUNTING, TRAPPING AND FISHING

The full current text of the Fisheries Act and it's Regulations may be viewed at the Manitoba statute website.

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Table of Contents
1. Overview
2. Ownership and Possession
3. Fishing Regulation
4. Enforcement
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1. Overview

Similar to all fish and game statutes, the FA relies heavily of licensing as a regulatory method [FA 14.3(1)]. Fishing (including bait fishing) without an appropriate license for the specific activity is prohibited , subject to some minor exceptions for recreational angling without a license [FA 14.4(1) and Fishing Licensing Regulation ('FL Regs') 3(1),4(2),6]. For these purposes, a license includes a 'permit' [FA 1].


2. Ownership and Possession

Reflecting the common law, the FA provides that property in all fish living in a state of nature lies with the provincial Crown [FA 14.2(1)]. However, if and when a fish is lawfully taken under the FA regime then both the right of possession and ownership thereafter lies with that person [FA 14.2(2)].


3. Fishing Regulation

The following FA rules apply to fishing activities in Manitoba:
  • "(n)o person shall remove, damage or in any way interfere with any net or other fishing gear or equipment set out by any other person for the purpose of catching fish" [FA 27.1(1)];

  • commercial fishing, other than ice-fishing, is prohibited from November to April inclusive [FL Regs 8];

  • sale, and possession for sale, of leeches and live bait fish is prohibited without a license [FL Regs 9];

  • possession or transport of live fish or fish eggs without a live fish handling permit or fish farm license is prohibited, unless they were lawfully obtained under a bait fish license or purchased [FL Regs 11];

  • stocking, harvesting or transporting fish for commercial sale is prohibited without a fish farming license [FA 13];

  • the Minister may restrict or prohibit fishing in areas by posting notices to that effect [FA 16.1(1)].

4. Enforcement

The FA regime is enforced in part by appointed FA inspectors and officers [FA 15(1)]. For this purpose they have the powers of police constables or peace officers, such as arrest [FA 15(1.2)], inspection and seizure [FA 15(1.2-2)].

The FA also has a broad offence provision to facilitate prosecution of violations [FA 25(1)].


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