The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources is responsible for issuing commercial fishing licences. They enter and maintain the licence data and approve the licence and quota adjustments.

Most commercial fishing licences are issued subject to a number of terms and conditions which provide details on the fishing operation such as:

  • waters from which the fish may be taken (including lake and quota zone)
  • species, size and quantity of fish that may be taken (species and quantity of fish that may be taken is referred to as the Quota)
  • fishing gear that may be used
  • persons who may engage in fishing under the licence
  • the loading, landing, handling and transportation of fish 
  • the periods and times of day during which fishing operations may be conducted

Commercial fishing licences in Ontario are limited to specific geographical areas referred to as Quota Zones. Each of the Quota Zones has natural attributes which dictate the common fish species and relative productivity of the waters in that particular area. Commercial fishing licences authorize each licence holder to harvest specific amounts of Quota species. Quota species can differ from area to area.