Seafood Industry Licensing

Ensuring seafood is safe for public 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 buying station licence
  • Those buying commercially-caught fish from a commercial fisher, without ever taking possession of the fish, require a fish broker’s licence
  • Fish and other seafood, and aquatic plant processors require a processing licence
  • Commercial fishers selling their catch to the general public, for their own consumption, require a fisher’s vending licence

What Activities Don’t Require a Licence?

While certain activities within the seafood industry may not require a licence, they may still be regulated by various agencies. Here are the requirements for:

While the Province licenses and regulates commercially-caught fish once they leave the fisher’s possession, commercial fisheries are regulated by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO).

Seafood Industry Licences

The buying of fish does not need to occur in order for this licence to be required. Individuals and businesses require a fish buying station licence to physically receive fish, for commercial purposes, directly from a commercial fisher. Individuals receiving fish from a commercial fisher for non-commercial purposes (i.e.: their own personal consumption), do not require a fish buying station licence. A fish buying station can include, but is not limited to vehicles, vessels or shore-based facilities.

Regardless of the type of the fish buying station, there are requirements that must be met in order to get a fish buying station licence. An inspection of the fish buying station is typically done before the licence is issued.

Additional requirements for fish buying stations are as follows:

To start the licensing process:

Once licensed, complete and submit an Annual Fisheries Production Schedule at the end of each calendar year. 

A processing plant licence is required by any individual or business that is processing fish, seafood or aquatic plants. The only exception is a commercial fisher preserving their catch at sea by heading, gutting, icing or packaging.

Processing plants must meet certain requirements to get a licence. An inspection of the processing plant is done before a licence is issued.

To start the licensing process:

Once licensed, complete and submit an Annual Fisheries Production Schedule at the end of each calendar year. 

Processing plants may also need to be registered with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Review the information below if your plant is:

A fisher’s vending licence is required by a commercial fisher that is selling their own catch to the public for their own consumption. A commercial fisher can sell their own catch from the location of their choice. Find out the requirements that must be met depending on the location of the sale.

To start the licensing process:

A fish broker’s licence is required by any individual or business that is buying commercially-caught fish from a commercial fisher, without ever taking possession of the fish. Whoever handles, transports or processes fish or seafood on behalf of a fish broker, also needs to be licensed.

To start the licensing process:

Once licensed, complete and submit an Annual Fisheries Production Schedule at the end of each calendar year. 

 

 

 

 

Seafood Licensing Guide

Fish Processing Facilities in B.C.

Acts & Regulations

Useful Contacts

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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