Smelt Fishery - Pacific Region

The surf smelt (Osmeridai other than Thaleichthys pacificus) of the Burrard Inlet support a modest, traditionally shore-based commercial and recreational fishery. Management of surf smelt in Burrard Inlet involves both protection and conservation of the spawning stock, as well as regulating the sport and commercial fishery. A closure from June 15 to August 15 is set to protect the peak spawning period. In addition, the commercial fishery occurs from Monday to Thursday and the recreational fishery occurs from Friday to Sunday to minimize conflict between commercial and sport fishers.

Surf smelt spawn in the summer in the upper intertidal zone. Multiple spawnings within a tidal cycle and on subsequent days are customary. It is during this spawning migration when smelt are available to the fishery. The main fishery occurs in Burrard Inlet. However, smelt are known to occur in other protected areas of the North Coast and Georgia Strait.

A category "Z-8" licence is required to harvest smelt without a vessel. For information concerning fishing smelt from a registered fishing vessel, contact the Regional Herring Coordinator. Gear used to harvest smelt are seine net (maximum length of 90 m and minimum mesh size of 19 mm), and gill net (maximum length of 275 m and mesh size no less than 25 mm and no greater than 50 mm. Gill nets are permitted in Areas 28 and 29 only).

Species Information

Fishery Information