Interpretation Guidelines Manual British Columbia Employment Standards Act and Regulations


ESR Section 1 – Definitions – Fisher


Text of Legislation
Policy Interpretation
Related Information


This section contains definitions for terms used throughout the Employment Standards Regulation.

Text of Legislation

"fisher" means a person

(a) who is employed on a vessel engaged in commercial fishing, and

(b) whose remuneration is a share or portion of the proceeds of a fishing venture,

but does not include a person employed in aquaculture;

Policy Interpretation

A person employed on a commercial fishing vessel who receives a share or portion of the proceeds from a fishing venture is a “fisher” for purposes of this definition. “Proceeds” is not defined in the Act or the Regulation. As the definition of “proceeds” can be either a gross amount or a net amount, the parties must be sure they clearly understand what the employee’s share is based on. 


A person is responsible for the operation of a commercial fishing vessel which operates with 5 other crew. This person is paid 16% of whatever profit the vessel makes per trip. This person is a fisher because he is employed on a vessel engaged in commercial fishing and receives a portion of the proceeds from the fishing venture.

A person employed in aquaculture is not included in the definition of “fisher”. Aquaculture includes fish farms. A person employed at a fish farm is not a “fisher” for purposes of this definition. The Provincial Fisheries Act defines “aquaculture as follows:

aquaculture” means the growing and cultivation of aquatic plants, as defined in section 12, or fish, for commercial purpose, in any water environment or in human made containers of water, and includes the growing and cultivation of shellfish on, in or under the foreshore or in water”.

Commercial fishing” is not identified in the Employment Standards Act or Regulation. The provincial Fisheries Act adopts the concept of commercial fishing developed in the federal legislation. Under the federal Fisheries Act , in the context of licensing and regulating commercial fishing, a fishing vessel is defined as follows:

fishing vessel” means any vessel used, outfitted or designed for the purpose of catching, processing or transporting fish.

Under s.37 of the Regulation, “fishers” are excluded from the following provisions of the Act:

  • Section 16. Minimum Wage
  • Part 4. (except section 39), Hours of work and overtime
  • Part 5. Statutory Holidays
  • Part 7. Annual Vacation
  • Part 8. Termination of Employment

Related Information




Fisheries Act, [RSBC 1996] Chapter 149

Fisheries Act (Canada)