Generally, you are not allowed to fish, deposit or transport live fish without a licence. This is set out in the Ontario Fishery Regulations, 2007 (OFRs) under the federal Fisheries Act.

To meet the licence requirements, you can apply for a Licence to Collect Fish for Scientific Purposes for:

  • research
  • education
  • inventory and assessment
  • development, such as salvage and rescue
  • maintenance, such as storm water management pond maintenance
  • restoration

Special licence classes

There are two special classes of licences to collect fish for scientific purposes that can be issued without review and approval if you meet certain criteria. The special classes are for:

  • the collection of fish for stormwater management pond maintenance
  • fish salvage during in-water infrastructure works

These licences are subject to:

How to apply

To apply, you can either:

Supporting documents

You need to include the following information and supporting documents with your application when applying for a licence that is not one of the two special classes of licences:

  • the objectives of the study
  • an outline of the proposed project/collection
  • location(s) where the collections will occur

Depending on your application, you may also need to include:

  • a letter from the educational institution supporting the research
  • a Transfer of Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) Risk Assessment Questionnaire. To get this form, contact your local district office
  • Animal Care Committee approval (for universities and colleges)

After you apply

If your application is approved, a licence will be issued electronically to the email address you used in your licence application.

Reporting requirements

You need to report your fish collection activities to the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry either:

  • on or before January 31, of the year following the expiry of the licence
  • on or before the date specified on your licence

Download the mandatory collection report.

Submit your mandatory collection report by email or in person to your local Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry office.