Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program

Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program

Canada is well known for its recreational fisheries. Fishing has historically been one of the country's popular leisure activities for both Canadians and visitors alike. Every year, anglers from all around the world come to visit and participate in recreational fishing activities across Canada. The important socio-economic contributions of recreational fishing are felt in all of Canada's provinces and territories, particularly in some of the more remote areas of the country.

While Fisheries and Oceans Canada has a regulatory regime in place to help mitigate current and future activity that is detrimental to the health of recreational fisheries, historical impacts have left these fisheries compromised and in need of improvement in many areas. Over the years, recreational fisheries have consistently faced multiple and interacting threats, including pollution, invasive species and habitat loss and degradation. Of these, the issue of habitat loss is the most commonly identified threat to freshwater fish, the target of most of Canada’s recreational fishing activities. Common forms of habitat loss include habitat degradation and erosion, barriers to fish migration and water flow alterations.

There is, however, potential to address these historical impacts through restorative action and partnerships. With government, recreational fishing/angling groups, Indigenous groups and others in the fisheries conservation field working together toward common goals, tangible progress can be made. At the local and community level, these groups possess important knowledge and capacity that can be used to help improve recreational fisheries across Canada.

To meet that potential, the Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program was established in June 2013 to support multi-partner projects at the local level aimed at restoring recreational fisheries habitat in order to enhance the sustainability and productivity of Canada’s recreational fisheries. Specifically, the program, through contribution funding, enables proponents to manage and execute projects that restore compromised and/or threatened recreational fisheries habitat. 

Program Objective

The Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program supports the Government’s commitment to protect Canada’s environment.

The program's objective is to restore, rebuild and rehabilitate recreational fisheries habitat.

Project Types

The Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program funds many different types of restoration projects. Examples of commonly-funded projects include:

Stream, Lake and Floodplain Habitat Restoration:

  • Construction of instream rock and/or natural wood structures to restore or enhance fish habitat.
  • Construction of instream sediment management structures to improve fish habitat.
  • Construction or restoration of undercut banks and other stream refuge habitats for fish.
  • Construction or restoration of refuge or rearing cover structures in lakes.
  • Placement of spawning gravels in streams.
  • Enhancement of spawning shoals in lakes.
  • Restoration of floodplain channels, ponds and/or wetlands.

Fish Access Improvements:

  • Removal of natural or abandoned, manmade obstructions to fish passage.
  • Construction or repair of fish bypass channels around obstructions to fish passage.
  • Removal, repair, replacement or modification of culverts to provide fish passage.
  • Deactivation and restoration of abandoned stream crossings that limit fish passage.

Stream Channel and Bank Erosion Control and Stabilization:

  • Bioengineering and planting of native species to reinforce or stabilize stream banks and/or stabilize instream sand and gravel bars.
  • Riparian planting using native species.
  • Livestock exclusion fencing in conjunction with riparian planting and suitable buffer strips.

Ocean Habitat Restoration and Enhancement:

  • Bioengineering and planting of native species to reinforce or stabilize eroding shorelines.
  • Restoration of inter-tidal and sub-tidal plant communities.
  • Removal of abandoned, manmade structures that negatively impact fish habitat.

Chemical Manipulations to Improve Water Quality:

  • Aeration
  • Liming

Note: Specific criteria must be met for chemical manipulation project proposals to be considered for funding.

For more information on whether a specific project would be considered for funding under the program, please get in touch with the appropriate regional contact, as listed on the Contacts page.