Canadian Anchor Rules Changed!

4-25-2018 — Update: Today a friend called Canadian Customs and was issued a clearance number with no problems and was able to anchor without going to the Canadian Customs dock. It seems different agents have different rules or they are randomly, day to day requiring anglers to report to Customs if they are going to anchor. At least there’s hope. If you have not read yesterday’s post below, please do. Be prepared and know that when you call Canadian Customs for anchoring they might require you to go to the Canadian Customs dock, in which case you can tell them you will not anchor. Be ready to drift for halibut if they do.

If you have not read my previous post, please do. With regards to that post, dated April 23 2018, about anchoring for halibut in Canadian waters, I called Canadian Customs today and they indeed told me anyone who anchors MUST report in person to a Canadian Customs port, be inspected and then can go and anchor. I even asked about Nexus Cards, stating that was not the requirement in the past and that Nexus Cards should prevent having to report in person. No they said, “Even with the Nexus Card you will have to report in person to the Customs Dock,” the agent told me.

Another friend also called with the Canadian Custom’s reporting number with the same questions and he received the same answers. This could change in the future, but who knows, we are dealing with governments, foreign governments at that.

I think this new policy is in response to the conflict between the United States and Canada during this years International Pacific Halibut Commission. I was there, as part of the Conference Board, voting on proposals that would go to the six commissioners, three from the U.S. and three from Canada. For the second time in 94 years the two countries did not agree on proposals dealing with cuts because of lower halibut numbers.

Canadian fisheries managers did cut quotas for both sport and commercial. The sport maximum size reduced from last year’s 133 cm to 115 cm on April 1st this year. With less quota, I believe the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada is putting pressure on their Customs and Border Patrol to enforce the anchoring rules, which have always been in effect. Obtaining a Nexus Card use to enable anglers to simply call CAN PASS (Canadian Customs) and obtain a “Clearance” number without having to physically report. Please keep in mind, this is my opinion on their motives, but it makes sense. Why else would they suddenly change policy. Why else would they suddenly send their Customs and Border Patrol vessel to Coyote Bank (also known as Border Bank) demanding anchored vessels, whom already called for clearance numbers, to report to a Custom’s dock?

I will keep everyone posted as updates/changes occur. Next time I plan to go salmon fishing across the border I will call for a clearance number for anchoring and see what they say. Who knows, they might issue a number. If they say I must report in person I will tell them no thanks, I will just fish for salmon. Their new law, as of last July, allows U.S. boats to troll or drift without calling to notify Canadian Customs.

John L. Beath  4-24-2018

About John L. Beath

John Beath is a writer, photographer, videographer, blogger, tackle manufacturer & Captain at Whaler's Cove Lodge in Southeast Alaska. He is also owner of and host at Lets Talk Outdoors @
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