Survey for recreational effort and catch

Instructions on how to fill out the ongoing monthly internet survey for collecting information on fishing effort and catch.


Welcome to the Internet Recreational Effort and Catch Survey (iREC). This survey collects information on recreational fishing activity in tidal waters from thousands of participants who each report on their fishing activity and catch for a single month. Forty percent of all licence holders are selected each year to provide their fishing information to either a monthly iREC survey or the Internet Annual Recreational Catch Survey.

As a recreational fisher, it is your responsibility to provide the information required to sustainably manage our shared fishery resources. It is also a condition of your tidal waters recreational fishing licence to provide your fishing information through this survey. Even if you didn't fish at all or did fish but didn't bring home any catch, you are still required to complete the survey.

New this year, licence holders are informed at the time of purchase whether they have been selected for a survey and which survey they have been selected for.

Look at the bottom of your licence to determine whether your licence has been selected. There you can see which survey you have been selected for and your access link and ID.

If you enter your survey access link before your survey month begins, you will not be able to see the survey, but you will find some useful links.

If you have been selected and you entered your current email address into your DFO licensing system account, you will also receive an email from DFO regarding the survey with your survey access link and ID.

To learn how to complete the iREC survey, please follow these step-by-step instructions.

To start the survey during the survey month, log on using the information provided at the bottom of your licence or the link in the survey email.

If you did not fish during the month, please click the blue ‘I did not fish tidal waters recreationally…’ button below. This option is only available when the month is finished.

If you wish to return to the survey and complete it at a later time, you may select the red ‘Close current session…’ button.

If you fished during the month, select the green ‘Continue to report fishing’ button.

A calendar will appear. Please select the dates on which you went fishing. You may select multiple dates or you can add additional dates later.

Note that your calendar will only show the month for which you have been selected to report, and will only allow you to report for days in the past.

Also, you will only be able to select dates within the month for which your licence is valid. For example, if you buy an annual licence on May 12th and you are selected to participate in the May survey, you will only be permitted to report your fishing activity for May 12th to the 31st, not May 1st to the 11th.

Once selected, you cannot remove dates from this window. But if you wish to remove dates, you will find the option on the report dashboard.

Choose ‘Save.’

This will open your report dashboard. Here, the entries for each date you fished will be listed. You can add additional dates using the ‘Add date’ button. Using the green button, record the area where you fished under each date using a list or a map.

On the map, zoom in on the area you fished, select the area and click on the green button to confirm and continue.

This returns you to the report dashboard. Enter all the areas you fished on each date. Use the blue buttons to select all of the fishing methods you used on each date in each area.

Once a method is selected, an orange button will appear that allows you to complete the catch report for this date/area/method combination. Click this button.

A new screen will open, where you can enter details about your fishing event. In this box, add the number of people under the age of 16 who hold fishing licences and who fished with you. You will be reporting their catch along with yours.

If you select ‘Angling from boat,’ please record if your trip originated from a sport fishing lodge. Also, please record if you fished with a paid guide. This information is not requested for other fishing methods.

If you selected ‘Shellfish trapping from boat,’ please record if you checked crab traps and prawn traps. To add information about the finfish or shellfish you caught, please select the green ‘Save and continue to next page’ button.

On the next page, please provide details about the finfish and shellfish that you and all juveniles fishing with you caught during your fishing day. Do not record fish caught by other adults in your group. You do not need to enter ‘0’ for any species you did not catch.

Scroll down the list until you find the species you caught.

You may enter multiple species of fish. For information on species identification, please follow the links provided at the top of the page. Also, some species have information buttons which, when clicked, provide more information about the species. For example, for ‘Chinook’ and ‘Coho,’ an illustration appears that shows the difference between hatchery-marked and wild salmon.

Please enter the number of fish you kept and the number that you released for each species.

When completed, please scroll down and select the green ‘Continue to review and confirm page’ button.

The catch form with the numbers you provided is now displayed again. Please ensure your entries are correct. You may make corrections on this form. Once correct, please scroll down and select the green ‘I have reviewed my responses, continue’ button. You will not be able to change your catch information for this report after you select this button.

You will now return to ‘Your Report Dashboard.’

You can now complete catch reports for any other fishing events.

You may also add further dates by selecting the green ‘Add date’ button. You may remove dates made in error from this page by selecting the red ‘Remove…’ button.

If you have no further dates or details to report at this time, please select the red ‘Close current session. I will return later to complete my survey’ button.

Once the month is finished, please return to the survey and add further reports or confirm that all your fishing information has been provided for the month.

If you are completing the report after the month is finished, and you have no further information to add, you may select the green ‘I have completely reported all of my fishing information’ button. This option is not available until all the reports that have been started are completed.

A pop-up box will ask you to confirm that you have entered all data for the month. Click ‘OK.’

This is the last screen where you can enter information. You can add comments about your fishing activity or the survey here if you wish. They are not required. If you have questions, email us using the link provided.

Once completed, please select the green ‘Complete survey…’ button.

Thank you for your cooperation. This information allows Fisheries and Oceans Canada to estimate recreational fishing effort and catch, which helps to ensure a vibrant, sustainable recreational fishery into the future.

For more information on the iREC survey, please visit