Small Craft Harbours' (SCH) primary responsibility is to ensure core fishing harbours are kept open and in good repair. The term core harbours applies to harbours that are owned by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), that are critical to the fishing and aquaculture industries and that are managed by Harbour Authorities. Of the 1057 small craft harbours, approximately 750 are considered to be core harbours.
Each year, the majority of SCH's budget is allocated to the maintenance of fishing harbours. In 2007, the Government of Canada allocated an additional $20M annually to make repairs to small craft harbours. SCH must ensure that its facilities are maintained in order to protect the health and safety of users and the environment.