Fisheries and aquaculture

Last updated on February 6, 2023

The marine fisheries, aquaculture and seafood sectors are important contributors to the provincial economy and are the foundation for many coastal communities. The B.C. government leads the provincial policy and initiatives related to the following activities:


B.C.’s coastline is ideal for aquaculture because of its climate, water quality and sheltered bays. The three main groups of species currently cultured in our waters include salmon and other finfish, shellfish and marine plants.

Marine Commercial Fisheries

British Columbia has a diverse seafood industry with marine fisheries providing enhanced social and economic benefits through responsible management practices that protect the environment and maintain viable healthy fish stocks. B.C. is committed to ensuring that the conservation of the resource will be the basis of sustainable fisheries and seafood supply.

Fish and seafood processing

Seafood product preparation and packaging is a component of the provincial food and beverage manufacturing sector. The province issues licences conducts inspections and collects statistics for this important sector.

Recreational fishing (sport fishing)

British Columbia is said to be home to some of the best sport fishing opportunities, in one of the most spectacular natural environments, in the world. The recreational fishery is based on expectation and opportunity of fishing, and is part of the broad outdoor recreational experience.

Seafood industry licensing

Find out which activities within the seafood industry have specific licensing requirements.

Sustainable seafood

Food safety, traceability and sustainability practices are the cornerstones of the B.C. seafood sector.  Learn more about B.C.'s international reputation for safe, reliable and top-quality seafood products.

Education and training

Education and skills training requirements in the diverse B.C. fisheries and aquaculture sector range from basic fish biology and water quality testing and system designs for fish farms, to marine vessel operation and safety and diver training. 

Minister of Agriculture's Advisory Council on Finfish Aquaculture

The B.C. Agrifood and Seafood Strategic Growth Plan included a commitment to examine the rules and restrictions that guide the application and approval process to ensure that aquaculture operations are socially and ecologically sustainable and can co-exist with B.C.’s wild fishery resource, by forming a time-limited Minister of Agriculture’s Advisory Council on Finfish Aquaculture.

Wild Salmon Advisory Council (WSAC)

In June 2018, B.C. launched the Wild Salmon Advisory Council (WSAC), a multi-stakeholder advisory council that contributed to the development of a strategy to support restoring healthy and abundant wild salmon stocks in B.C. Following extensive discussions and a period of public engagement, the WSAC provided several strategic recommendations to the Province in the spring of 2019. The WSAC suggested that a shared vision for wild salmon should focus on improving marine and freshwater ecosystems in B.C. and encouraging benefits to coastal community economies. In August of 2020, B.C. released an update on provincial actions taken to address the recommendations in the WSAC report.