Maritimes Region Recreational Fisheries


The management of DFO recreational fisheries in the Maritime Provinces is shared between two DFO regions - The Maritimes Region (headquartered in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia) and the Gulf Region (headquartered in Moncton, New Brunswick). This section of the DFO website provides information on the recreational fisheries in the Maritimes Region, which extends from the northern tip of Cape Breton to the New Brunswick-Maine border.

DFO Maritimes Region Boundary Map

There is more Eastern Canadian DFO recreational fisheries information on the Gulf Region, the Newfoundland and Labrador Region and Quebec Region websites.

Check the Maritimes Orders Registry for up-to-date recreational fisheries openings and closures.

Regulations by Species


Tidal Waters


Spearing is permitted in tidal waters for the following species only, subject to seasons, daily bag and possession limits and minimum size limits:

  • Eels
  • Smelt
  • Tomcod (not Atlantic Cod).

Spearing for any species is not permitted in inland waters. Regulations governing these species can be found in the Maritime Provinces Fishery Regulations.


For a summary of the regulations pertaining to licence requirements, season dates, gear restrictions, daily limits and size limits for the following freshwater finfish, visit the New Brunswick and Nova Scotia provincial government websites.

  • Chain pickerel
  • Landlocked salmon
  • Perch (white and yellow)
  • Trout (speckled, rainbow and brown)
  • Whitefish (except Atlantic whitefish)
  • White sucker

Tidal and Freshwater (Diadromous)

Shellfish and Invertebrates


Bivalve shellfish harvest areas may be closed at any time due to dangerous bacterial and biotoxin levels. To check for up-to-date openings and closures:

  • Clam/Quahog
  • Lobster
    • There is no recreational fishery for lobster
  • Marine Worm
  • Mussel
  • Oyster
  • Periwinkle
    • Periwinkles must be harvested by hand picking and a recreational licence is not required
  • Scallop
  • Whelk
    • There is no recreational fishery for whelk

Species Identification

Identify your species. All commonly caught tidal water and diadromous (Tidal and Freshwater) species in the Maritimes Region are listed below. Click on the links to find more information and pictures to help identify your catch.


Recreational fishing
Fishing solely for pleasure or fishing to catch fish solely for personal use
Daily bag limit
The total number of fish you may keep in any one day regardless of the number of areas fished (Caught and released fish are not considered as part of the bag limit, except for Atlantic salmon)
Possession limit
The number of fish you may have at any time
Inland waters
  1. All waters of a river, stream or brook set out in column I of an item of Schedule II that are upstream of the boundary or reference point, as the case may be, set out in column II of that item, including any waters tributary thereto that are upstream of that boundary or reference point, and
  2. In any case not referred to in paragraph (a), all waters that are upstream of the low-water mark at the time of low water as set out in the Canadian Tide and Current Tables published by the Department
Prohibition order
Fisheries management tool used to close a contaminated shellfish harvesting area to fishing
Variation order
Fisheries management tool used to change a harvesting area’s close time (season), fishing quota or limit on the size or weight of fish
Tidal waters
In relation to a county or province, all waters, other than inland waters, that are:
  1. Within that county or province, or
  2. Adjacent to that county or province and closer to that county or province than to any other county or province
Sport fish
Legally defined under the Maritime Provinces Fishery Regulations and means Smallmouth bass, Landlocked salmon, salmon and trout
Do not have a spine
Shellfish with two shells
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