Laws & Regulations

As of July 1, the inspection, compliance and enforcement functions from several provincial government departments will come together under Nova Scotia Environment.

Departments involved in this consolidation include the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Health and Wellness, the Department of Agriculture, Nova Scotia Environment, and the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

For more information, visit novascotia.ca/nse/inspection-compliance-enforcement/

For the laws and regulations concerning the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, see below.


Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act

This act is the primary piece of legislation for the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture. It gives authority for most of the Department’s functions and activities. These include: recreational fishing, sea plant harvesting, training and development, licensing of buyers and processors, aquaculture, the Fisheries and Aquaculture Loan Board, and enforcement.

To download the Act, click http://nslegislature.ca/legc/statutes/fisheries and coastal resources.pdf.

To download the Act's regulations, click http://www.novascotia.ca/just/regulations/rxaa-l.htm#fishcr.


Fish Harvester Organizations Support Act

This new act and regulations, proclaimed on April 1, 2013, provide the tools for inshore fishers to strengthen their organizations. It enables accredited fisheries organizations to collect mandatory dues from license holders.

To download the Act, click http://nslegislature.ca/legc/statutes/fish%20harvester%20organizations%20support.pdf.

To download the Act's regulations, click http://www.novascotia.ca/just/regulations/regs/fhossupport.htm .

To download the FHOSA FAQ, click here

NS Fish Harvester Organization Membership Application forms


Fish Buyers Licensing and Enforcement Regulations

These regulations outline the requirements for commercial fish buyers licences.

To download the regulations, click http://www.novascotia.ca/just/regulations/regs/fcrbuyer.htm.


Fish Inspection Regulations

These regulations provide the rules for fish processing facilities.

To download the regulations, click http://www.novascotia.ca/just/regulations/regs/fcrinspc.htm.


Health Protection Act (Food Safety)

The act outlines food safety requirements for all establishments that handle food for public consumption.

To download the Act, click http://nslegislature.ca/legc/statues/healthpr.htm.

To download the regulations, click http://www.novascotia.ca/just/regulations/rxaa-l.htm#hlthprotect.


Maritime Provinces Fishery Regulations

These federal regulations govern recreational fish species. They outline how many fish can be caught, where fish can be caught, and at what time of year.

To download the federal regulations, click http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-93-55/index.html.


Anglers' Handbook and Summary of Regulations

This handbook provides all the rules and regulations regarding sport fishery in Nova Scotia.

Download the Nova Scotia Anglers' Handbook & Summary of Regulations:

There are two omissions (underlined below) from the Musquodoboit River, Halifax County - Special Trout Management Area found on page 29 of the Anglers Handbook and Summary of Regulations for 2016.

MUSQUODOBOIT RIVER, HALIFAX COUNTY. See map page 28

Bag limit two (2) speckled trout (not including tributaries).

From the mouth of Musquodoboit Harbour to Chapel Island, Open May 1 to Aug 31, any gear. Sep 1 to Sep 30, all speckled trout must be released, natural bait prohibited.

From a point 300 m downstream from the Highway 7 bridge to Chapel Island, Open June 1 to Aug 31, any gear. Sep 1 to Sep 30, all speckled trout must be released, natural bait prohibited.

From a point 300 m downstream from the Highway 7 Bridge, upstream (including Bayers Lake) to a point 100 m above Crawfords Bridge, May 1 to Sep 30, artificial fly only. Sep 1 to Sep 30, all speckled trout must be released.

From a point 100 m above Crawfords Bridge upstream to the Hwy 224 Bridge in Upper Musquodoboit, May 1 to Aug 31, any gear. Sep 1 to Sep 30, all speckled trout must be released, natural bait prohibited.

With the new sportfishing season upon us, anglers are reminded that the 2015 Regulations come into effect on April 1st, 2015. Beginning April 1st, anglers 16 years of age and older require a 2015 sportfishing licence, which may be purchased from authorized vendors and select Department of Natural Resources Offices across the province.

Angling is permitted in through the ice, or in open water in areas with an open season as described in the Anglers Handbook. Anglers are reminded that daily bag limits effective April 1st may be different from winter fishing bag limits. Please consult the Anglers Handbook for current regulations in your area.

Anglers are reminded to use extra caution when venturing out onto the ice at this time of year. Ice may be unsafe in many areas, and anglers should pay close attention to changing ice conditions.

Questions about this guide may be directed to:

Debbie White
Phone: 902-485-5056
Email: whiteda@gov.ns.ca

Regulation Maps:

Fishing Licence vendors and report card can be found on the Licensing and Permits page.


Salmon Regulations

These federal regulations govern salmon. They outline how many fish can be caught, where fish can be caught, and at what time of year.
Atlantic Salmon Fishing Season: September 1 to October 31

To download the 2016 Salmon Regulations, click here

2016 Salmon Angling Seasons:


For all NS government legislation, click http://nslegislature.ca/legc/sol.htm

For all NS government regulation, click http://www.novascotia.ca/just/regulations/regsxact.htm