The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation

Every time you cast a line, thread a lure, or take a new friend out on the water, you’re participating in a centuries-old tradition.

A tradition rooted in conservation and science-based wildlife management.

The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation rests on two basic principles:


That fish and wildlife are for the non-commercial use of citizens…


That wildlife should be managed in a way that it is available at optimum population levels forever.

There are 7 Core Tenets to the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation:

1. Wildlife is a Public Trust Resource

In Canada, wildlife is cared for by the public through provincial and federal governments. It is available to us all.

2. Markets and Commerce are Regulated

This includes prohibitions, regulations and enforcement. Unregulated economic markets are unacceptable because they privatize a common resource and lead to declines or habitat destruction.

3. Wildlife is Allocated and Controlled by Law

Wildlife – the lakes we fish and the fish we catch — are ours to access. Market trends do not change this. Democratic processes and public input help ensure access to resources is equitable.

4. Wildlife Should Only be Killed for Legitimate Reasons

In Canada, we’re allowed to keep certain types of fish for food. But it’s unlawful and unethical to kill fish or wildlife without making an effort to use it in some capacity. This is why it’s important to practice safe handling when you plan to catch and release.

5. Wildlife is Considered an International Resource

That’s right – the U.S. and Canada jointly manage fish, wildlife and habitat under various treaties, commissions, enforcement and professional organizations.

6. Wildlife is Managed Through Science

Science is the starting point for all management and decision-making regarding wildlife. This might include studies of population dynamics, behavior, habitat, adaptive management, and surveys of hunting and fishing.

7. Decisions are Governed Democratically

Every Canadian has an opportunity, under the law, to fish in Canada. Provincial and territorial agencies and law enforcement are funded by fishing license revenues and related taxes.

Resource management professionals and scientists have successfully applied these components to wildlife management and conservation efforts for decades, leading to a wealth of healthy wildlife populations, habitats, parks and protected areas…

Resources we often take for granted.

Follow Keep Canada Fishing’s series on the past, present and future of recreational fishing in Canada.