Canada's Freshwater Commercial Fishing Industry
Home to seven of the world's largest lakes, Canada is rich in its freshwater resources. Over 8% of our country is covered with lakes, while 12% is wetlands. The abundance of freshwater played a significant role in Canada's establishment. Early nomads used the rivers and lakes for transportation. Native communities and early pioneers settled along the shores and fished the waters for food. As communities grew, commercial fisheries were established. Railway and steamboat technology provided access to distant markets and the commercial fishery expanded. Canada quickly became a fishing nation. By 1857, concern over the exploitation of fish stocks and the pollution of fish habitat by expanding industries (particularly forestry) resulted in the establishment of the first "Fisheries Act". Today, Canada's fisheries are regulated by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans.