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Description found in Archives

Department of Fisheries and Oceans fonds [multiple media]. 



Place of creation

No place, unknown, or undetermined

ca. 479.24 m of textual records
[24 architectural drawings]
235 technical drawings
ca. 5355 maps
2 atlases
1 print : engraving
m of photographs
29 film reels (7 h, 8 min)
42 audio reels (ca. 23 h, 26 min)
93 audio cassettes (ca. 97 h, 58 min)
12 audio discs (ca. 2 h)

Scope and content

Fonds consists of records created and/or maintained by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and its predecessors. Researchers are cautioned that unprocessed textual records and records in other media are not reflected in this description. Architectural and technical drawings: RG23M 945031 consists of drawings, dated 1964-1986, prepared by or submitted to the Fisheries Inspection Branch and the Fisheries Industrial Development Service. The subjects include: processing and storage plants, salt fish dryers, electrolytic effluent monitors and shipping containers. Audio-visual material can be found in lower level descriptions of the following series: Fisheries Research Board of Canada and Multimedia Records from the department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Textual records
32: Restricted by law
Architectural: technical drawings
90: Open
Moving images (film)
96: Restrictions vary
Sound recordings
90: Open
Cartographic material
90: Open
90: Open
Graphic (photo)
Restrictions not set
from 1 to 8
90: Open
Archival reference no.
Former archival reference no.

Terms of use

Copyright belongs to the Crown.

Finding aids are available. See lower level descriptions and accession records in ArchiviaNet (the NA website). (Other)

Photographs: Finding aid is a list of photographs. FA-355 (Paper)

Architectural drawing; technical drawing Finding aid consists of an itemized list; architectural drawings are indexed by building type. There is also an electronic finding aid. Finding aid available in main reference room. RG23M 945031 90 (Paper)

Biography / Administrative history

In the years before Confederation, Canada's fisheries were administered under the aegis of the British imperial government. Within this framework each colony was responsible for overseeing its own fisheries interests. In the Province of Canada (Upper and Lower Canada) fisheries-related matters were managed by a branch of the Department of Crown Lands. The Department of Marine and Fisheries was created on July 1, 1867 and was officially constituted on June 30, 1868 with the promulgation of "An Act for the Organization of the Department of Marine and Fisheries of Canada" (31 Vic. C.LVII). The Honourable Peter Mitchell, one of the Fathers of Confederation, was named the Department's First Minister. By virtue of this Act, the new department was organized and became legally responsible for the seacoast and inland fisheries of the new dominion. The Act provided for the appointment of a Secretary of the Ministry in whom was vested the authority "to oversee and direct other officers and servants of the department and to have the general control of the business of the Department." The 1982 Constitutional Act reinforced this mandate by granting the Department federal jurisdiction over fisheries, public harbours and navigation. The mandate still calls for the Department to manage Canada's major waterways so that they are clean, safe, productive and accessible, to ensure sustainable use of fisheries resources, and to facilitate marine trade and commerce (1983 Annual Report).

It was the 1868 Fisheries Act, or an "Act for the regulation of Fishing and protection of Fisheries" (31 Vic. c. LX), which spelled out in detail the responsibilities of the Fisheries Branch of the Department and outlined the positions and functions of the personnel who were to man the Branch. The Act empowered the department to appoint fisheries overseers, fisheries inspectors, and wardens. In addition, the act also reaffirmed those sections of the Maritime legislation concerning the protection of coastal fisheries and the prevention of illicit fishing activity in Canadian waters.

Following the guidelines of the Act, a Commissioner was appointed in 1869 (P. C. 896, November 26, 1869) to oversee the fisheries operations of the department under the deputy minister. Inspectors of Fisheries, located in districts and sub-districts reported to the Commissioner on such issues as information pertaining to the quantity and value of fish caught, the conditions of fishing, the state of the rivers, minor and major infractions of fishery laws, and action taken in response to the violation of regulations.

By the early 1880's, the basic outlines of the organization and functions of the Fisheries Branch had taken place. The commissioner of the Fisheries reported to the Deputy Minister, and he was in charge of the Fisheries Protection Service, Outside Service, and Fish Culture. The Outside Service and Fish Culture were headed by a Superintendent who oversaw the activities of Officers-in-charge and fishery guardians. This structure was reinforced by the 1884 "Act representing the Department of Marine and Fisheries" (47 Vic. Cap. XVIII), which effected the separation of the Marine and Fisheries Branch into two distinct departments. Both branches went through various reorganizational structures (for example, "An Act Respecting the Branch of Marine and Fisheries, Vic., c.XVII, 1892) until they were incorporated into Department of Naval Services in 1914. It was during this period of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century that the Ministry initiated a series of commissions which studied areas such as the development of freshwater fisheries to disputes arising from fishing in boundary waters (American, Russian, and Japanese encroachments in Canadian waters), to pollution concerns. Prior to 1914, the Ministry was also heavily involved with dealing with the distribution of powers between the Federal and Provincial Levels in terms of jurisdiction and control. This was a result of a ruling issued by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in 1898. It was also in this time frame that the Government Fisheries Museum was established in Ottawa (1904).

When British Columbia entered Confederation in 1871, the Federal Government recognized the need for a strong presence in the Pacific region to monitor fisheries and oceans. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) established a Headquarters in Victoria, and by 1875, the Dominion Commissioner of Fisheries recommended that the Fisheries Act (31 Vic., c. LX, 1868) be made to apply to British Columbia. In the following year a proclamation was issued extending the Fisheries Act, and it was effective July 1, 1877. One of the highlights of the Department was the publication of the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences which first appeared in 1901.

In 1910, the office of the Fisheries Protection Service, (after 1922 called Fisheries Patrol Service) was established at regional headquarters which established administrative guidelines for the patrolling, and enforcing of fishing regulations. In 1928, by virtue of a Privy Council decision, in accordance with the BNA Act, the Dominion was declared responsible for the management of coastal and inland fisheries. As a result of this ruling, the 1930s witnessed the expansion and sophistication of specialized units and offices at regional headquarters. An engineering department was attached, an Inspection Laboratory was established in Vancouver, and both reported directly to the chief fisheries officer at regional headquarters.

In 1930, a separate Department of Fisheries was created, an arrangement which endured until 1969 when the federal government's fisheries and forestry programs were joined to form the Department of Fisheries and Forestry. The post World War Two period witnessed a substantial increase in size and structure of the Ministry. The reformed administrative structure consisted of the Conservation and Development Service, the Inspection and Consumer Service, the Markets and Economics Service, the Information and Educational Service. Before and after the war, the regional headquarters became involved in a number of national and international fisheries commissions, most prominent being the International Pacific Salmon Fisheries Commission. The commission was established under the provision of the convention of 1937 between Canada and the United States specifically to preserve, protect, and enhance the sockeye salmon fisheries of the Fraser River system in B. C. Growing Canadian and international attention to the Law of the Sea issues during the 1950s and 1960s influenced the federal Government to develop and organize on a more formal and coordinated basis its oceanographic activities in waters contiguous to Canada for scientific, defensive and economic purposes. The period of 1961-1962 saw the creation of the Surveys and Mapping Branch and Marine Sciences Branch. The Marine Sciences Branch was subsequently transferred to the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources in 1966 and then to Environment in 1972. The 1972 transfer also witnessed the Fisheries and Forestry Branches being absorbed into the new Department of Environment. One of the major initiatives during this time period was the 1977 extension of Canada's ocean territorial responsibilities. Canada extended its territorial fishing waters from 12 miles to 200 miles, adding an additional 632,000 nautical miles under the Department's control for monitoring fishing practices of both domestic and foreign vessels. The Government Organization Act of 1979 resulted in the creation of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans where the federal government's fisheries management and ocean science programs are now jointly located. Notable individuals who served as either Ministers or Deputy Ministers throughout the Department's history include Sir Charles Tupper (1888-1894), Sir Wilfrid Laurier (Acting, 1906), Ernest Bertrand (1942-1945), James Sinclair (1952-1957), the Honourable Jeanne Sauve (1974-75), Roméo Leblanc (1974-1979; 1980-1982), Tom Siddon (1985-1990), John Crosbie (1991-1993), Brian Tobin (1993-1996), Geoff Regan (2000-2006)

Additional information

Custodial history
RG23M 945031 was transferred from the Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans in Nov. 1993.

Further accruals are expected.

Cartographic math data
RG23M 945031: Architectural drawing: Scales differ. RG23M 945031: Technical drawing: Scales differ.

Original extent note
RG23M 945031: Originally received 142 drawings. Of these, 118 items were of a more routine nature, and were recommended for destruction. Those same 118 items were disposed 10 Jan. 1996.
Other textual material within this fonds, but found within CAG accessions: RG139M 9013 - 66 p.; RG139M 73-16100 - 22 leaves; RG139M 82303-47 - 1 folder; RG139M 87803-20 - ca. 86 cm.

Subject heading


Other system control no.