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Frequently asked questions about the FishingBC app

The FishingBC application was created by the Sport Fishing Institute of BC in partnership with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and is supported by the Pacific Salmon Foundation. It offers tidal water recreational fishing regulations, a catch log, a species identification guide and the ability to display your BC Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Licence and catch records electronically. It is available for download on Apple (iOS) or Android mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets.

General information

Is the use of the FishingBC app for electronic licence and catch recording mandatory?

Carrying an electronic licence is voluntary, and you may continue to use a paper licence. To obtain an electronic licence you may use the FishingBC App to link to your National Recreational Licensing System (NRLS) account, and then your licence is automatically downloaded as a .pdf from your NRLS account to your app account. If you later decide to unlink your app account from your NRLS account, you will no longer be able to access the licence .pdf in your app account.

Whether you choose to carry an electronic or paper version of your licence, , you must still maintain mandatory catch records for Chinook salmon and halibut caught in all tidal areas, and lingcod caught in Areas 12 to 19 (excluding Subarea 12-14) and Subareas 20-5 to 20-7 and 29-5, on your licence, and you are required to have the licence available for inspection upon request by a fishery officer, fishery guardian, conservation officer, or other enforcement authority, both while fishing and when transporting catch.

Catch recording requirements are outlined in Section 22 of the British Columbia Sport Fishing Regulations, and in the Conditions of Licence.

Electronic licence

Can I carry an electronic licence and not use the FishingBC app?

Yes. You can download a copy of your electronic licence as a .pdf download from your NRLS account to your mobile device, however you will not be able to record catch to it, and will need a paper licence to record catch, or record catch to your NRLS account, for Chinook and halibut caught in all tidal areas, and lingcod caught in Areas 12 to 19 (excluding Subarea 12-14) and Subareas 20-5 to 20-7 and 29-5, to present to a fishery officer, fishery guardian, conservation officer, or other enforcement authority, upon request.

Note that the app catch log will continue to allow you to record catch to your licence .pdf while you are outside cell range; whereas you will not be able to access NRLS while outside of cell range, as NRLS is not available as a mobile app.

How do I access and carry an electronic licence using the App?

You must first create an account in NRLS, and then purchase a Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Licence. You must also download the FishingBC app to your mobile device and create an account.

Once these steps have been taken, you may voluntarily link your FishingBC app account to your NRLS account following the instructions in the app. Once linked, your NRLS licence will be available on the app, where it will need to be shown for inspection upon request to a fishery officer, fishery guardian, conservation officer, or other enforcement authority.

Do I still need a Salmon Conservation Stamp? Will it show on my electronic licence?

Yes. If you are planning on retaining Pacific salmon that you catch, you must first purchase a Salmon Conservation Stamp for your licence. Once you have purchased the stamp through your NRLS account, it will be on the electronic licence, both in NRLS and in the FishingBC app, when you have linked the accounts.

Catch reporting

How do I record my catch on my electronic licence?

See the FishingBC app instructions to learn how to record your catch to the app catch log.

By regulation, you must immediately record on your licence your retained catch of Chinook salmon and halibut caught in all tidal areas, and lingcod caught in Areas 12 to 19 (excluding Subarea 12-14) and Subareas 20-5 to 20-7 and 29-5, whether on your paper licence, in your NRLS account, or in the FishingBC mobile application.

For linked accounts, catch recorded in the FishingBC app’s catch log records will automatically appear on the licence when it is displayed in the app. When you are within wifi or cell service range, your catch data will automatically be transmitted to the catch log in your NRLS account. Any released catch with catch records marked as 'Released' in the App will not appear in the licence, nor be sent to your NRLS account.

Do not record the same catch in both the FishingBC app and NRLS! The app is designed to work with NRLS – catch recorded in NRLS will appear in the app and catch recorded in the app will be uploaded to NRLS.

Remember that catch records, once made, cannot be corrected or deleted by you. If you have made an error in your catch record that needs to be changed, please contact us.

When do I need to record my catch?

You must immediately record your retained catch of Chinook salmon and halibut caught in all tidal areas, and lingcod caught in Areas 12 to 19 (excluding Subarea 12-14) and Subareas 20-5 to 20-7 and 29-5 on your paper licence, or in your NRLS account, or in the FishingBC app catch log.

Catch data for other species is not required by regulation to be recorded and is not shown on the licence, although the FishingBC app catch log allows you to record these catch details as well, as well as catch that is 'released'; these records are not uploaded to your NRLS account.

Does the FishingBC app track the time I recorded my catch?

Yes. Both NRLS and the app catch log will track the date and time of each catch record, and the catch records table on the electronic licence will show the date and time of the most recent catch record saved to NRLS or the app catch log.

What are my catch limits?

Where retention of catch is allowed by regulation, in the annual period between April 1 and March 31, you may only retain the annual limit of 10 each of Chinook salmon and halibut in all tidal areas, and lingcod caught in Areas 12 to 19 (excluding Subarea 12-14) and Subareas 20-5 to 20-7 and 29-5. These catches must be recorded either on your paper licence, in your NRLS account or in the FishingBC App catch log.

Note that area and species closures, and daily and other limits, such as size limits, occur throughout the year; for these important additional requirements, and for catch limits for other species, please see DFO’s Sport Fishing Guide.

Privacy

Will my FishingBC data be shared with DFO?

FishingBC app users who choose to use the electronic licence feature must first give their consent in the App to link their accounts and to share their data between the App and NRLS. App users may withdraw their consent and unlink their app and NRLS accounts at any time. For app users that link or have previously linked accounts with NRLS, the app user’s account, licence, and catch record data may be subject to access by DFO under any licence or catch record regulatory enforcement action. In addition, catch record data is routinely shared between the app and NRLS for currently linked accounts.

Can I unlink my FishingBC app account at a later date?

Yes. If you choose to unlink your FishingBC app account from your NRLS account, your NRLS licence will no longer be available in the App. As long as you were in wifi or cell range when you unlinked the accounts, your catch will have been uploaded to your NRLS account. If you do unlink, remember to transfer all of your annual retained catch to a paper licence for Chinook salmon and halibut caught in all tidal areas, and lingcod caught in Areas 12 to 19 (excluding Subarea 12-14) and Subareas 20-5 to 20-7 and 29-5 so that you can immediately show it to a fishery officer, fishery guardian, conservation officer, or other enforcement authority.

Can I link more than one account?

No. Each App account can only link to one NRLS account. Currently the FishingBC app cannot link to 'Dependent' accounts in NRLS - the app will only show and share the primary licence and catch data. If an app user has dependent accounts in their NRLS account they wish to link, then dependents must create separate accounts both in the app and in NRLS. Remember that NRLS email addresses may be shared but passwords must be different for each separate account. More information can be found here.

Technical information

What kind of technology do I need to use the FishingBC app?

In order to use electronic licence and catch reporting functions in the FishingBC mobile application, you will need a mobile device, such as a smart phone or tablet (iOS, or Android) with an internet connection.

What if I am outside of cell service or wifi service range?

Your licence display and catch recording will still work in the FishingBC App and will be able to be viewed for inspection upon request. When your mobile device returns to cell or wifi service range, the catch records will be transmitted to your NRLS account.

Why does my FishingBC app account sometimes need to be re-linked?

The link between your FishingBC app account and your NRLS account may sometimes be broken because of technical issues. Try re-linking the accounts again and contact us if this doesn’t work. In addition, accounts will need to be re-linked for each new licence year.

Are there any known issues with the FishingBC mobile application?

Yes. As of December 2023, the FishingBC application is in its initial implementation phase and we recommend that you carry a paper licence with you and record your catch on it as a backup, so that you are ready to immediately present this to a fishery officer, fishery guardian, conservation officer, or other enforcement authority, upon request.

Specific known issues include:

Updates to these items are expected prior to April 1, 2024.

Contact us

Technical support is available. Please contact us for assistance.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Pacific Recreational Licensing Unit
Telephone: 1-877-535-7307
Email: fishing-peche@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Sport Fishing Institute of British Columbia
FishingBC mobile application support
Email: support@sportfishingbc.ca

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