Indigenous communities and fishing
Please respect all resource users
Fish are of central importance to Indigenous communities in Ontario. The history of Indigenous fisheries pre-dates the existence of the province. Harvest traditionally occurred year-round, including during spawning times. Harvesting tools included weirs, nets, traps, spears and baited hooks.
Although tools have evolved over time, fishing continues to play a significant role in the lives of Indigenous peoples, contributing to the dietary, social, cultural and economic needs of communities in Ontario.
Indigenous communities in Ontario have constitutionally protected rights to fish. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) recognizes and respects these rights, whether it be for food, social, ceremonial, and sometimes commercial purposes. These rights are fundamentally different than the privileges given to licensed recreational anglers. For example, this may mean Indigenous people fish with different means or at different times than under Ontario’s fishing regulations. Just as MNRF respects these rights, we ask that licensed recreational anglers do the same.