Data Requirements for Fish Data Submission

Fish data submission standards help simplify and regulate the information that permit holders are required to submit under the conditions of their Scientific Fish Collection Permit, producing  data that can be easily reviewed and used by provincial biologists and the general public.

When submitting fisheries information to the B.C. Government, standard format data submissions must be provided in all cases where sampling was attempted.

In addition to sampling events where fish have been caught, attempted sampling includes incidents where:

  • No fish have been caught (NFC)
  • There are visible observations (fish)
  • Stream is dewatered
  • Stream is dry/intermittent
  • Stream has no visible channel

Your submission must satisfy the mandatory data requirements to be accepted. However, it is encouraged to provide as much information as possible within the standard format.

Standards for submitting fish information are divided into four broad categories. All required and optional data is detailed below:


Referencing Information (Step 1 in the Fish Data Submission Template):

  • Project Title: Name of project or report
  • Company/Agency: Name of the company or agency submitting the spreadsheet
  • Spreadsheet Recorder(s): Names of the person(s) completing the spreadsheet; for reference purposes if contact is required
  • Fish Data Submission Project Type: Reason for the data collection
    • Options are Environmental Impact Assessment, Fish Salvage, Forestry Stream Classification, Inventory (General), Research, Reconnaissance 1: 20 000 Fish & Fish Habitat Inventory, Overview (1: 50 000) Fish & Fish Habitat Inventory, and Other Project Type (please describe)
  • Provincial Permit Number: The Scientific Fish Collection Permit number on the issued permit
  • DFO Permit Number: The Fisheries & Oceans Canada permit number (if applicable)


Professional Sign-off (Step 1 in the Fish Data Submission Template):

  • Indication of Professional Sign-off: A Yes or No answer is required to indicate whether the data has been signed-off by a registered professional biologist; it is not a requirement to select Yes
  • Biologist’s Name: If Yes is indicated above, provide the full name of the biologist
  • Registration Number: If Yes is indicated above, provide the registration number of the biologist
  • Province or State of Registration: If Yes is indicated above, provide the province of registration of the biologist

Required for each site

Locational Information (Step 1 in the Fish Data Submission Template):

  • Gazetted Name: Official name of the lake, stream or wetland as found in BC Geographical Names Search
    • If the waterbody is not gazetted, record “unnamed”
  • Alias or Local Name: Unofficial or locally used name for the lake, stream or wetland (if known)
  • Waterbody Type: Type of waterbody of either stream, lake, wetland, canal or reservoir
  • Waterbody (ID) Identifier: Alpha-numeric, nine-character string that uniquely identifies a waterbody within a watershed
    • For lakes and wetlands, the ID consists of five digits followed by a four-letter acronym of the parent watershed group
    • For streams, use five zeros (“00000”) in the numeric portion of the ID
  • Watershed Code: Refers to the 45-digit watershed code (if exists)
  • Site Number: Site number is a unique number of up to three digits assigned to all sites within a project
    • Each unique site Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) coordinate must have a different site number
  • Survey Date: Date when the survey took place at the site; proper recorded format is “YYYY/MM/DD”
    • Do not use a blanket range of dates that spans the entire sampling for the project or study
  • Location Coordinate: UTM coordinate representing each sample site; UTMs are taken at the downstream end of the site
    • UTM coordinate must include the UTM zone number, an Easting value of six significant digits and a Northing value of seven significant digits (1 metre precision, NAD 83)
    • UTM methods include aerial photo, GPS, GIS (e.g. ArcGIS, Google Earth, Google Maps, Habitat Wizard) and hardcopy map interpretation

Channel Status (Step 1 in the Fish Data Submission Template):

  • No Visible Channel: Required when providing No Visible Channel locational information
  • Dewatered-Dry/Intermittent Channel: Required when providing Dewatered or Dry/Intermittent Channel locational information

Fish Collection Data (Step 2 in the Fish Data Submission Template) Required for each site:

  • Sampling Method – List the sampling techniques used at the site. If electrofishing was used, it is suggested that you also provide temperature and conductivity measurements of the water at each site, since the effectiveness of electrofishing is closely related to these parameters.
  • Sampling 'Effort' – If electrofishing is conducted, this would be number of Electrofishing (EF) Seconds and the Length and Width of the site sampled. For net/trap techniques, this would be the Gill Net Type (if used), Net/Trap Length (not apply to minnow traps), Net/Trap Depth, Set (waterbody zone), and Soak Time. For angling, this would be angler hours (Soak Time).
  • Fish Summary - Species, Stage, and Total Number - For each application of a technique at a site, the Species caught and the Total Number caught, should be broken out by Stage.

Additionally Preferred (but optional):

  • Sampling Information – Method Number and Haul#/Pass#. It is preferred that a Method Number, and Haul#/Pass# be provided for each electofishing pass and net/trap haul.
  • Date In, Time In, Date Out, Time Out - It is preferred that this is collected for each net/trap haul.

Individual Fish Data (Step 3 in the Fish Data Submission Template) - Optional. Requirements if completing:

  • Fish Sampling Data – Species - If providing individual fish information, id of Species is required.

Stream Site Data (Step 4 in the Fish Data Submission Template) - Optional. Preferred requirements if completing:

  • Features - If providing must also provide: Type, Height, Length, Height/Length Method, UTM (Zone, Easting, Northing, Method), Comments regarding potential to be a fish obstacle.
  • Forestry Stream Classification specific information – If your project was a Forestry Stream Classification Project, it is preferred but not required that you provide the following information:
    • Channel information - Channel Width and Method - The individual channel widths measured at the site, and the method used. Do not give the average. Read the channel standards.
    • Channel information - Gradient and Method – The individual gradients measured at the site, and the method used. Do not give the average. Read the channel standards.


Additional Data

This guide provides only the minimum data requirements for submission along with selected data that we recommend be included included in the standard reporting format .

Additional written reports, photos, maps and data are encouraged along with the required submissions,  as they can provide valuable information and context. These will be loaded to the publicly accessible EcoCat reports catalogue along with your standard report submission.

Other fish information may include:

  • Additional non-required sampling
  • Reports, maps or other data sets