Institutional links

Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of commonly asked questions, if you have additional question that have not been answered please contact Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

  1. Information about the National Recreational Licensing System
    1. What is the National Recreational Licensing System (NRLS)?
    2. What is an Independent Access Provider?
    3. What are the benefits of purchasing a licence, stamp, or catch card online?
    4. What is an electronically issued licence? Are the traditional waterproof paper licences still available?
    5. Who can use the National Recreational Licensing System?
  2. How to use the National Recreational Licensing System
    1. What do I need to use the National Recreational Licensing System?
    2. How do I create an online account?
    3. I used the "Register Now" feature and tried to create an online account but the system says "Our records indicate you already have an account," why do I see this message and how do I access my account?
    4. Does each fisher need to set-up their own online account to obtain a licence in NRLS?
    5. Do juveniles need to set-up their own online account to obtain a licence?
    6. I previously purchased a licence from an Independent Access Provider and now I want to create/ access my account, how do I log in?
  3. Fees
    1. Will there be a fee to use the National Recreational Licensing System portal?
    2. How do I seek a refund for a licence that I accidentally ordered twice, registered incorrectly, or that does not provide my correct information?
    3. To pay with your credit card:
    4. To pay using Interac Online:
  4. Compliance and Troubleshooting
    1. I can’t remember the email address I used/my previous licence number/my password. How do I retrieve this? Can I change my information after I’ve been issued a licence?
    2. How do I reprint my licence?
    3. I’ve paid for my licence, but now my printer doesn't work. What can I do?
    4. The information on my licence is incorrect, what do I do?
    5. What should I do if I can't purchase/issue a licence electronically because the online licensing system is out of service?
    6. Is the online receipt I printed the same as my licence?
    7. I’m concerned about my privacy. What is Fisheries and Oceans Canada doing to protect my information? Can I trust the National Recreational Licensing System?

1  Information about the National Recreational Licensing System

1.1  What is the National Recreational Licensing System (NRLS)?

The National Recreational Licensing System (NRLS) is an online system that allows recreational fishers to obtain a B.C. Tidal Waters Sport Fishing (TWSF) licence, Salmon Conservation Stamp and/or Yukon Salmon Conservation Catch Card from any location with an Internet connection and printer.

For those who are uncomfortable accessing the system on their own, a B.C. Tidal Waters Sport Fishing licence and stamp can be obtained through an Independent Access Provider (IAP).

List of participating Independent Access Providers

1.2  What is an Independent Access Provider?

An Independent Access Provider is a retail outlet, charter, lodge, or marina that can help you obtain a B.C. Tidal Waters Sport Fishing licence and salmon stamp. Independent Access Providers can not currently issue Yukon Salmon Conservation Catch Cards.

List of current service locations

Contact your Independent Access Provider prior to departure to confirm hours, location and the availability of licences.

1.3  What are the benefits of purchasing a licence, stamp, or catch card online?

NRLS allows fishers to obtain a licence, stamp, or catch card 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from any location with a computer, Internet and a printer. Licence holders are also able to reprint a lost licence from home.

In addition, the online system allows DFO to improve the collection of information about the recreational fishery and will facilitate the development of catch reporting tools.

1.4  What is an electronically issued licence? Are the traditional waterproof paper licences still available?

An electronically issued licence is a licence issued by the Government of Canada through the National Recreational Licensing System, and replaces the traditional waterproof paper format.

Licences are now issued online, and are printed out by the individual or Independent Access Provider (for B.C. Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Licences). In the event of an unplanned system outage or where there is limited Internet connectivity, an Independent Access Provider may be able to issue an emergency B.C. Tidal Waters Sport Fishing paper licence.

1.5  Who can use the National Recreational Licensing System?

Anyone from anywhere in the world can buy a fishing licence on our website. However, non-residents purchasing a B.C. Tidal Waters Sport Fishing licence are prohibited from fishing for Pacific halibut in Areas 23, 121 and 123, unless they purchase a licence from an authorized Independent Access Provider in Canada.

Licences can be purchased for others (e.g. as a gift) provided you have permission from the licence holder-to-be, a valid payment method and all mandatory information for registration (full name, date of birth, address, eye colour, and height).

If the B.C. Tidal Waters Sport Fishing licence is being obtained through an Independent Access Provider, the Independent Access Provider may charge a usage/service fee.

2  How to use the National Recreational Licensing System

2.1  What do I need to use the National Recreational Licensing System?
  • A computer connected to the Internet.
  • A recent version of one of the following web browsers:
    • Internet Explorer
    • Firefox
    • Google Chrome
    • Safari
  • Adobe Reader to print licences which will be PDF documents. If you do not already have Adobe Reader, or you need to upgrade to a later version, you can download a free copy.
  • A valid credit card or Interac (if supported by your particular bank) to pay for the fee associated with your licence and/or Salmon Conservation Stamp. Some prepaid credit cards can be accepted; the number must be embossed, and there must be an expiry date.
  • A printer to print the B.C. Tidal Waters Sport Fishing licence, Yukon Salmon Conservation Catch Card and/or Salmon Conservation Stamp. The printer must be loaded with letter-sized paper. Printing the licence in colour is not mandatory; you may print electronically issued licences using a black-and-white printer.
2.2  How do I create an online account?

You will need to go to the Sport Fishing website, click on "Register Now", and complete all mandatory fields. While registering, ensure you do not hit the BACK button as your data may be lost and issuance of a Tidal Waters Sport Fishing, Yukon Salmon Conservation Catch Card and Salmon Conservation Stamp may be interrupted.

2.3  I used the "Register Now" feature and tried to create an online account but the system says "Our records indicate you already have an account," why do I see this message and how do I access my account?

If you purchased a licence through the online system in the past or if you previously purchased a licence from an Independent Access Provider, an account would have been created for you.

The system will check to see if you have a complete profile. If your profile is complete, use the "forgot password" feature and a temporary password will be emailed to you. If your profile is incomplete, for security reasons, the system will advise you to contact Fisheries and Oceans Canada to update your personal information prior to accessing your account.

2.4  Does each fisher need to set-up their own online account to obtain a licence in NRLS?

Yes. To obtain a licence online, each adult, senior and juvenile fisher needs to have an account on the National Recreational Licence System.

Licences can be purchased for others (e.g. as a gift) provided you have permission from the licence holder-to-be, a valid payment method and all mandatory information for registration of an account (full name, date of birth, address, eye colour, and height).

2.5  Do juveniles need to set-up their own online account to obtain a licence?

Yes. Though juvenile registration continues to be free, it is a requirement for any recreational fisher under the age of 16. To obtain a licence for your child, create a new account for them and follow the steps to obtain their licence. You may use the same email address, but will need a unique password for each account.

2.6  I previously purchased a licence from an Independent Access Provider and now I want to create/ access my account, how do I log in?

If you previously purchased an online licence from an Independent Access Provider, an account may have been created for you.

Use the "Obtained a licence through an Independent Access Provider" feature. The system will check to see if you have a complete profile/ account. If your account is found, but the profile is incomplete (i.e. does not contain an email address), for security reasons and to protect your privacy, you will be asked to please contact Fisheries and Oceans Canada to verify and update your personal information prior to accessing your account.

If your account is found and the profile is complete, a temporary password will be sent to the email address you supplied while obtaining your licenc from the Independent Access Provider.

3  Fees

3.1  Will there be a fee to use the National Recreational Licensing System portal?

There is no additional fee involved with purchasing a licence via the National Recreational Licensing System. Licence holders may buy a licence, print a licence or reprint a lost licence from home without a fee.

However, there may be a usage fee if you purchase a B.C. Tidal Waters Sport Fishing licence through an Independent Access Provider who may charge a usage/service fee to assist with computer maintenance, printing and Internet costs.

3.2  How do I seek a refund for a licence that I accidentally ordered twice, registered incorrectly, or that does not provide my correct information?

Please note that Fisheries and Oceans Canada does not issue refunds and does not correct fishing dates for Tidal Waters Sport Fishing licences, Yukon Salmon Conservation Catch Cards and Salmon Conservation Stamps, so please ensure your licence selection is correct before you complete your transaction.

You can change your contact information through the system by clicking "Update Profile".

If there is an error in the financial transaction such as a double payment charged to your credit card, please contact Fisheries and Oceans Canada by calling 1-877-535-7307, weekdays 8:00am – 4:00pm, or emailing fishing-peche@dfo-mpo.gc.ca.

3.3  To pay with your credit card:
  1. Enter the Cardholder Name, Credit Card Number, Expiry Date, and your Email address in the appropriate spaces. Then click the button "Pay With Your Credit Card".
  2. If you do not have a permanent credit card, you may use a "pre-paid" credit card obtainable from most grocery, convenience and drug stores and other common commercial business locations. However, in order to pay online with a pre-paid credit card, that card must be of the embossed (raised numbers) type and bear an expiry date. If you experience any difficulties with a pre-paid card, you should contact the card issuer for advice and direction.
  3. Un-embossed (flat surface) cards cannot be used.
  4. Payments using Visa debit cards are not accepted.
  5. Click the "Print This Page" link to print your receipt.
3.4  To pay using Interac Online:

NOTE: You must first be registered for Interac Online banking through the Bank of Montreal, Royal Bank, Scotiabank, TD Bank, Envision Financial, or Libro credit Union as these are the only banking institutions presently registered for Government of Canada payments using Interac Online.

  1. Type your e-mail address in the space provided and click the "Pay from your Bank Account" button.
  2. You will be prompted to select your online bank. Simply follow the instructions presented by the selected bank and enter any account or bank card data requested. Payments using Visa debit cards are not accepted.
  3. Then select the bank account that you wish to pay from. Next, confirm the payment amount.
  4. You will then be returned to the National Recreational Licensing System.

4  Compliance and Troubleshooting

4.1  I can’t remember the email address I used/my previous licence number/my password. How do I retrieve this? Can I change my information after I’ve been issued a licence?

If you forgot or need to update your email address, click "forgot your email" and fill out the form with your first and last name, birth date and the telephone number you have registered. Then you will need to answer three secret questions that you have set up in order to receive your password. Enter an alternate email address and a temporary password will be emailed to you. If you did not set up your three secret questions, you will not be able to retrieve your email address through this process. Please contact Fisheries and Oceans Canada to update your information before you can access your account.

You can retrieve your password from the website by clicking "forgot my password" and providing your email address and date of birth. Your password will be emailed to you. Be sure to enter your date of birth in this format DD/MM/YYYY, or use the calendar icon and select your date of birth.

You can update your account information by logging into your profile with your previously issued electronic licence number or the previous email address used during the initial registration process. Once you are logged in, click the “update profile” button. If you change your contact information after purchasing a licence, the updated contact information will not print on any replacement licences.

4.2  How do I reprint my licence?

Log into the National Recreational Licensing System, click "Licence Replacement/Reprint", then select the licence you want to print and click "print". Click the drop-down menu and select the reason for replacement, then click "print".

Please note that each licence contains a unique encrypted licence identification and scanning code so that Fishery Officers can confirm the recreational fisher holding the licence is the same individual to whom it was issued. Should the recreational fisher need to print off another copy due to losing the original, the National Recreational Licensing System will automatically generate the reprint date on the licence along with the version number.

4.3  I’ve paid for my licence, but now my printer doesn't work. What can I do?

Please go to a location with a functioning printer and reprint your electronically issued licence by selecting "Licence Replacement/Reprint".

4.4  The information on my licence is incorrect, what do I do?

You can change your contact information through the system by clicking "Update Profile" if you purchased your licence online or if you need assistance you can go back to the Independent Access Provider where you purchased your licence (for Tidal Waters Sport Fishing licences).

If there is an error in your personal information (e.g. your name, date of birth, gender, height or eye colour), please contact Fisheries and Oceans Canada to assist you in updating both your personal information and your licence by calling 1-877-535-7307 weekdays 8:00am-4:00pm, or by sending an email to fishing-peche@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

4.5  What should I do if I can't purchase/issue a licence electronically because the online licensing system is out of service?

Whenever you encounter an issue that prevents you from accessing the licensing system, contact Fisheries and Oceans Canada by calling 1-877-535-7307, weekdays 8:00am – 4:00pm, or by emailing fishing-peche@dfo-mpo.gc.ca.

Please plan ahead and get your licence online in advance. To avoid delays, the best time to access the National Recreational Licensing System is outside of peak periods. Peak periods are every day from 12-3pm; every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday; and anytime there is a major fishery opening, such as the Fraser River Sockeye opening.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada aims to provide continuous online service; however planned and unplanned outages may occasionally occur. Once you have logged into the National Recreational Licensing System, you will see on the notification and details of any scheduled outages that will affect the site on the main page.

As a backup option in the event system outages or limited internet connectivity, Independent Access Providers have the ability to manually issue a B.C Tidal Waters Sport Fishing licence. A list of current service locations may be found at http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/rec/licence-permis/IAP-FAI-eng.pdf. It is recommended that you contact the applicable Independent Access Provider to confirm the availability of licences prior to departure.

In the event of an unplanned system outage outside of government business hours, you can report the outage by email to fishing-peche@dfo-mpo.gc.ca.

4.6  Is the online receipt I printed the same as my licence?

Your receipt and your licence are different. After your payment has been processed, the page will display a prompt to print your licence. You will need to click the "print" button to print your licence. If you exited the system before printing your licence, you will need to log back into National Recreational Licensing System, and select "Licence Replacement/Reprint".

4.7  I’m concerned about my privacy. What is Fisheries and Oceans Canada doing to protect my information? Can I trust the National Recreational Licensing System?

Fisheries and Oceans Canada staff and Independent Access Providers are committed to protecting your privacy. To ensure this protection, all departmental employees and software systems are required to adhere to the strict privacy legislation and policies. Privacy statements are available at: http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/notices-avis-eng.htm and https://www-ops2.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/nrls-sndpp/tc-mc-eng.cfm.

The National Recreational Licensing System contains system controls to ensure that Independent Access Providers may only access your file when requested by you. Prior to accessing your licence profile or creating a record, the provider will need personal details that only you can provide such as email address, date of birth, previous licence numbers, etc.