Looking to buy seafood

Observe, Record and Report (ORR)

If you see any illegal fisheries activity or illegal fish sales online, report it as soon as possible at: Observe, Record and Report (ORR)
1-800-465-4336, or your local DFO office.

If you buy seafood from an unlawful source, not only do you run the risk of illness, fines and jail time – you harm the management of fisheries resources for the future.

It is a prime time to enjoy locally caught seafood, but please be aware that it is illegal to purchase seafood that was not harvested in a lawful fishery. If you wish to purchase seafood from anyone, it is your responsibility to ensure that it was lawfully caught under a licence authorizing sale.

Section 35(2) of the Fisheries (General) Regulations: no person shall buy, sell, trade, barter or offer to buy, sell, trade or barter any fish unless it was caught and retained under the authority of a licence for which the Minister has authorized sale.
Why run the risk?
  • Selling or buying seafood illegally may result in significant fines under the Fisheries Act, and/or fines under Provincial legislation. If you are caught purchasing, selling, trading or bartering seafood caught in a fishery where sales are not authorized, you could face fines as high as $100,000, and/or up to two years in jail.
  • Depending on handling, processing, transport and storage - buyers of illegal seafood run the risk of ingesting fish that is contaminated or causes food poisoning.
  • Illegal fish sales undermine the ability to manage fishery resources in a fair and equitable manner, now and into the future.
Buying seafood safely
  • Buying fish over the Internet may be unlawful and a threat to your health.
  • Buy seafood from licensed reputable sources.
  • If in doubt, ask what fishery the seafood has come from and request to see the commercial licence or Aboriginal Fishery Landing Slip.
  • Protect your health - only fish and shellfish caught and sold legally have had health and safety inspections.