Seafood Industry Licensing

Ensuring seafood is safe for human consumption means that individuals and businesses conducting certain activities in the seafood industry (for example: receiving fish, processing fish, etc.) must be licensed.

What Activities Require a Licence?

The following activities within the seafood industry have specific licensing requirements:

  • First receivers of commercially-caught fish from a commercial fisher require a fish receiver licence
  • Fish, seafood, and aquatic plant processors require a seafood processor licence
  • Commercial fishers selling their catch to the general public directly from their harvest vessel, or to restaurants or retail stores, require a fisher vendor licence

What requirements do I need to meet?

While certain activities within the seafood industry may not require a licence, these activities may still be subject to certain requirements. Requirements apply whether you require a licence or not, to conduct any of the following activities:

The Province licenses and regulates certain activities involving commercially-caught fish, once they leave the fisher’s possession. Commercial fisheries prior to that point, are regulated by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO).

Seafood Industry Licences

This licence is required for a person who operates:
  • A shore-based facility used to receive fish directly from a commercially licensed fisher or a licensed packing vessel
  • A vehicle used to receive fish directly from a commercially licensed fisher or a licensed packing vessel
  • A vessel used to receive fish directly from a commercially licensed fisher or a licensed packing vessel that does not hold a federal commercial fishing or packing licence
However, you may not require a licence if you are an:
  • Individual operating a restaurant or retail store that is regulated under the Food Premises Regulation and is receiving fish directly from a commercial fisher holding a Fisher Vendor licence
  • Individual operating a federally registered fish processing facility and is receiving fish directly from a commercial fisher at that facility
  • Individual operating a provincially licensed seafood processing facility and is receiving fish directly from a commercial fisher at that facility
  • Individual operating a federally licensed commercial fishing (or packing) vessel and is receiving fish directly from a commercial fisher
  • Commercial fisher transporting their own catch
  • Individual operating a vehicle used to receive fish, for their own personal consumption, directly from a commercial fisher holding a Fisher Vendor licence
Fish Receivers have to meet the following requirements:
Fish Receivers are subject to inspection to ensure compliance with the Act and regulations.
To start the licensing process:
Once licensed, complete and submit an Annual Fisheries Production Schedule at the end of each calendar year. 
This licence is required for a person who operates:
  • a seafood processing facility, or
  • a seafood cold-storage facility
However, you may not require a licence if you are operating a:
  • Federally registered fish processing facility
  • Restaurant or retail store that is regulated under the Food Premises Regulation and is also processing seafood
  • Cold storage facility that is regulated under the Food Premises Regulation and is storing seafood as well as other food commodities
  • Marine-based fish farm that is stunning, bleeding and icing on site
  • Freshwater-based fish farm that is conducting limited processing (heading, gutting, icing, packaging) for sales to individuals at farm site or temporary food markets
  • Facility (e.g., fishing lodges) that is conducting limited processing (heading, gutting, filleting, icing, freezing, packaging) of sport-caught fish
  • Commercial fishing vessel that is conducting limited processing (heading, gutting, freezing, packaging) of the fisher’s catch, while at sea
Regardless of your requirement for a provincial licence, you may need to be registered with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Review the information below if you:
Seafood Processors have to meet the following requirements:
Seafood Processors are subject to inspection to ensure compliance with the Act and regulations.
To start the licensing process:
Once licensed, complete and submit an Annual Fisheries Production Schedule at the end of each calendar year.
This licence is required for commercial fishers who sell their catch:
  • to the public (for their own consumption), directly from the harvest vessel, or
  • to restaurants or retail stores that are regulated under the Food Premises Regulation
Fisher Vendors have to meet the following requirements:
Fisher Vendors are subject to inspection to ensure compliance with the Act and regulations.
To start the licensing process:

 

 

NEW Licensing Requirements in 2017

Seafood Processors

Acts & Regulations

Contact Information

AgriService BC

Have a question? Call or email us.

Telephone: 1 888 221-7141

Email: AgriServiceBC@gov.bc.ca
Website: www.gov.bc.ca/agriservicebc

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