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Introductions and transfers

Introductions: releases of fish or shellfish into waters outside its present range.

Transfers: releases of fish or shellfish into other waters within its present range.

The planned movement of live aquatic organisms (i.e., fish, shellfish and plants, through introductions or transfers) supports aquaculture, commercial and recreational fisheries, stock enhancement, research, education, and ecological restoration. These movements are regulated to ensure that environmental impacts are limited.

The National Code on Introductions and Transfers of Aquatic Organisms provides federal, territorial and provincial governments with a consistent process for assessing potential impacts of moving aquatic organisms from one water body or facility to another. This process enables each jurisdiction to work with applicants to minimize the risks of unintentionally spreading diseases or pests, altering the genetic makeup of native species, or otherwise negatively impacting surrounding ecosystems. The Code and the establishment of Introductions and Transfers Committees provide a good example of federal, territorial and provincial collaboration that results in increased environmental sustainability.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada administers the Code under the Fishery (General) Regulations and issues licences to authorize the intentional release and transfer of live aquatic organisms into fish-bearing waters or fish-rearing facilities in all provinces and territories, except in Quebec (in freshwater), Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta where provincial officials authorize those activities.

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