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With over two million lakes and rivers that flow into five major ocean drainage basins, 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.

1.1 Managing Canada's recreational fisheries

The governance structure for managing Canada's recreational fisheries is one that has evolved over time. It is a complex combination of federal, provincial and territorial legislative and management responsibilities with an emphasis on partnership, citizen engagement and stewardship and on promoting public awareness about conservation and the sustainable use of fishery resources.

The implementation of recreational fishery management programs at the provincial and territorial level are equally complex. The programs and strategies do reflect, however, the diversity of requirements across various jurisdictions, the need to engage all stakeholders and the importance of achieving a balance between promotion of recreational fishing as a leisure activity and conservation of the resource.

Statistical monitoring of recreational fishing activities is an important input to fishery management. Information collected through the Survey of Recreational Fishing in Canada has been used to support policy analysis and the development of fishery management plans for the past thirty-five years.

1.2 Survey Highlights

Resident anglers continued to make up the majority of the active angler population in Canada, particularly in Ontario and Quebec, which accounted for 60% of all resident anglers. Most Canadian non-resident and foreign anglers travelled to fish in either Ontario or British Columbia (Tidal Waters) for their recreational fishing activities. These trips accounted for almost 73% of all fishing trips taken by nonresident anglers in Canada.

The population of active adult anglers continued to age. More than half of Canadian anglers (55%), for example, were in the 45-64 age group whereas only 28% of the general Canadian population fell within the same age range.

The average number of days fished per angler has remained relatively unchanged at 13 days since 1995. Canadian non-resident and foreign anglers made over 2 million trips within Canada in 2010. Over half of these trips were made specifically to fish for recreation in the jurisdiction they visited.

Overall, walleye was the most predominant species caught in 2010, maintaining the same position as in the 2005 survey. As reported in 2005, walleye surpassed trout for the first time since the first survey in 1975. Of the trout species caught, brook trout continued to be the dominant species caught by resident anglers, particularly in the eastern provinces and Quebec. The Territories had significant catches of lake trout, arctic grayling and northern pike.

Anglers contributed a total of $8.3 billion to various local economies in Canadian provinces and territories in 2010. Of this amount, $5.8 billion was in the form of investments and major purchases of durable goods related to recreational fishing activities. The remaining $2.5 billion covered direct recreational fishing expenditures during fishing trips, such as package deals, transportation, food, lodging, fishing services, and fishing supplies.

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