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Mandate and role

Canada has an abundance of freshwater and marine and coastal areas that are ecologically diverse and economically significant. Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard manage Canada’s fisheries and safeguard its waters by:

Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard work in over 400 locations across Canada on 4 core responsibilities.


We protect and manage Canada’s fisheries, including aquaculture, and support Indigenous participation in fisheries. We also ensure our national network of harbours is open and in good repair.

Aquatic ecosystems

We protect our oceans, freshwater and aquatic ecosystems and species from the negative impact of humans and invasive species. We achieve this through sound science and in collaboration with Indigenous communities.

Marine navigation

We maintain waterways year-round so they are safely navigable by mariners and all Canadians.

Marine operations and response

Our Coast Guard fleet, in collaboration with Indigenous communities, responds to maritime incidents, such as search-and-rescue and environmental emergencies.

We use science-based decision-making, engage with Indigenous Peoples of Canada and rely on the Canadian Coast Guard fleet as a platform for our on-water activities.

For a detailed inventory of programs and services that support these core responsibilities, see our Departmental Results Framework and Program Inventory.

Departmental priorities and mandate commitments

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is responsible for meeting Government of Canada priorities and our departmental mandate commitments, which are outlined in our Minister’s Mandate Letter. These priorities include protecting Canada’s 3 oceans and waterways, ensuring they remain healthy for future generations and providing economic opportunities to Canadians and coastal communities.

In particular, our department will support the Minister to:

Key legislation

Our department’s work is supported by the following key pieces of legislation:

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