GST/HST Info Sheet
GI-049 January 2009
Fishing Equipment and Products
This info sheet describes zero-rated equipment and products relating to fishing activities for purposes of the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST).
In this publication, “taxable” means subject to the GST at 5% or the HST at 13%. “Zero-rated” means subject to the GST/HST at the rate of 0%.
The supply of certain equipment and products relating to fishing activities is zero-rated. For more
information on fishing activities, refer to GST/HST Memorandum 4.4, Agriculture and Fishing, and the Agriculture and Fishing Property (GST/HST) Regulations (the Regulations).
Fishing products
Two categories of fishing products are zero-rated under the Excise Tax Act (the Act):
fish or other marine or freshwater animals; and
fish eggs.
Fish and marine animals
The supply of fish or other marine or freshwater animals is zero-rated, provided they are not
processed further than frozen, salted, smoked, dried, scaled, eviscerated, or filleted. Any such animal that is not ordinarily used as food for human consumption or that is sold as bait for use in
recreational fishing is excluded from this zero-rating provision, and therefore is taxable. For example, minnows which are typically used as bait in recreational fishing are taxable.
Fish eggs
Fish eggs are zero-rated provided they are to be used for hatching purposes.
In some cases, it is necessary to look beyond a particular provision because a product that is not
zero-rated under one provision may be zero-rated under another provision of the Act.
ABC Fish Hatchery Inc. operates a commercial shellfish hatchery that raises oysters, scallops, clams, and quahogs. Some of the shellfish seed is sold to other aquaculturists.
Shellfish seed is not considered an egg. It is more correctly classified as “spat” which is the spawn of a shellfish. Shellfish seed is a viable independent life form that takes approximately three years to fully mature.
Since it is not an egg, shellfish seed is not zero-rated as a fish egg.
However, since shellfish seed is an independent life form, it is considered to be a marine or freshwater animal, and therefore is zero-rated as a marine animal.
Fishing equipment
Three categories of fishing equipment are zero-rated
under the Act:
fishing vessels;
fishing nets and related items; and
other equipment.
With the exception of fishing vessels, which are conditionally zero-rated, all fishing equipment listed
in the Regulations is unconditionally zero-rated; that is, any person may purchase these items on a zerorated basis.
Fishing vessels
The purchase or importation of a fishing vessel is zero-rated only when the vessel is for use by the
person in commercial fishing. Fishing vessels acquired for recreational use are taxable.