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Fishing

Rockfish on the line
Rockfish on the line © Parks Canada / Neil Osbourne

The Haida have gathered sustenance from the sea for generations. Whether paddling, sailing or powerboating, this incredible resource is available to visitors too. Rockfish, ling cod, salmon and halibut are just some of the species that have been caught and enjoyed by visitors to Gwaii Haanas.

But remember to always fillet your fish near the edge of the sea, away from your camp, so the blood and scraps are washed away by the tide. This helps keep bears away from campsites.

Saltwater fishing requires a Tidal Waters Fishing License.

Freshwater fishing is not permitted in Gwaii Haanas.

Closures and Regulations

Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site 
© Parks Canada

Rockfish Conservation Areas

Please note the locations of the large Rockfish Conservation Areas within Gwaii Haanas that are closed to all hook-and-line fishing.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has designated these areas to protect inshore rockfish. The RCAs are part of a larger strategy to halt declines and allow inshore rockfish and lingcod stocks an opportunity to rebuild.

The following activities are permitted within RCAs for recreational fishing. (Anything not listed is NOT permitted.)

Recreational Fishing

  • Invertebrates by hand picking or diving
  • Crab by trap
  • Prawns by trap
  • Smelts by gillnet

More information can be found on the DFO website.

Fully Protected Areas

Six key areas or three percent of Gwaii Haanas Marine are fully protected because of their ecological and/or cultural significance.

Commercial and recreational fishing and harvesting are not permitted in these areas:

  • Burnaby Narrows, a biophysical “hot spot,” which supports one of the most abundant, diverse, and colourful intertidal communities found in temperate waters anywhere in the world.

  • Louscoone, Flamingo, and Gowgaia Estuaries: highly productive and biologically rich estuarine ecosystems that act as important nutrient and energy interfaces between the land and the sea.

  • Cape Saint James, a unique oceanographic area characterized by strong tidal mixing that exerts a huge impact on the productivity of surrounding waters.

  • SGang Gwaay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a National Historic Site, a Haida Heritage Site and one of the most important sites that reflects the Haida relationship to the land and the sea.