Ontario’s Commercial Fishing Industry

The commercial fishing industry in Ontario has been a part of the history, culture and economy of North America for a very long time. There was a recognizable commercial fishery before Europeans colonized what we now call Ontario. Fishing was one of the first industries established in new communities that sprang up as Europeans pushed up the Great Lakes in the early years of Canada’s founding.

Today Ontario has a superb worldwide reputation as purveyors of the very finest quality freshwater fish. In fact, 90% of the catch from Ontario’s commercial fishery is exported to the United States and Europe. Ontario’s commercial fishery provides the non-angling public access to Ontario’s superb quality fish through restaurants, dining rooms, grocery stores, as well as local and dock-side outlets.

Ontario’s licensed commercial fishery operates in the Great Lakes on Lakes Erie, Huron, Superior and Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. In addition, licensed commercial fisheries operate in Lakes Nipigon, Rainy, Lake of the Woods and a few smaller inland lakes under the auspices of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 

Ontario is home to the largest freshwater fishery in North America. It plays a major role in the economic and social welfare of many communities that depend upon the commercial fishing industry for their viability.