Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Aboriginal Fishing Rights Definition:

(Canada) The right of Aboriginals to fish for food, to exchange fish for money or other goods, and to fish commercially.

In R v Morin, Justice Laing of the Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench noted, that at least as of 1997:

"[A]boriginal fishing rights ... acknowledged to date by the Supreme Court of Canada: the right to fish for food;1 the right to exchange fish for money or other goods;2 and the right to fish commercially.3"

In R v Sparrow, Justice La Forest of the Supreme Court of Canada wrote:

"Fishing rights are not traditional property rights.  They are rights held by a collective and are in keeping with the culture and existence of that group.  Courts must be careful, then, to avoid the application of traditional common law concepts of property as they develop their understanding of ... the sui generis nature of aboriginal rights."

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