Legislation Sea Fisheries

Fisheries (sport fisheries) are considered in the Fisheries Act 1963. The most important legislation is described below.

Sport Fishing in Fishery Zone, Coastal Waters and Sea Areas
Fishing in the Netherlands does not only take place in inland waters. Sport anglers also fish in the sea, the rules for which vary from those for inland waters. In general, the rules for sea angling are a lot simpler. It is important to know that the Fisheries Act makes a distinction between three different sea fishing areas: 'fishery zone', 'coastal waters' and 'sea area'. Different rules apply to these areas.

Coastal Waters
Coastal waters include the Wadden Sea, the Dutch part of Dollard and Eems, the Maasmond, the Nieuwe Waterweg up to the line of the main eastern harbour of Maassluis to the green range light no. 14, the Calandkanaal and open harbours to the most seaward lying dike, the Beerkanaal with open harbours, the Zeegat van Goeree, the Brouwerhavensegat, the Oosterschelde and the Westerschelde.

NB. The sea adjoining the beaches of Noord_Holland and Zuid-Holland and above the Wadden Islands are practically always referred to as coastal waters, but according to the Fisheries Act these are not 'coastal waters'.

Sea Area
Contrary to what one might think, only a few limited areas of water are considered under the term sea area: the harbours of IJmuiden (including the inner side of jetties) with connecting channels to the Noordzeekanaal (North Sea Canal) and Uitwateringskanaal (Freeboard Canal) at Katwijk and the harbours of Scheveningen to the most seaward lying dikes.

Fishery Zone
The fishery zone refers to the North Sea along the Dutch coast which is connected to the sea area and coastal waters. In general every day language the fishery zone is what we would call 'sea'. Fishing in the fishery zone, coastal waters and the sea area with rods requires no licence.

Fishing in coastal waters is restricted to the use of (maximum) two rods. One is also free to fish with a peur (a ring of worms threaded together) or smelt tackle in coastal waters providing the fishing rights are owned by the state. If the fishing rights are owned by another party, a licence is required for the use of a peur and smelt tackle.

Minimum Size for Certain Types of Sea Fish
If you catch a fish smaller than the minimum size for this type of fish, you must return it to the same water immediately.

Eel 28 cm Sardine 11 cm
Anchovy 12 cm Flounder 20 cm
Blue ling 70 cm Haddock 30 cm
Megrim 20 cm Schol 27 cm
Herring 20 cm Sole  24 cm
Hake 27 cm Plaice 27 cm
Scad 15 cm Pollack 30 cm
Cod 35 cm Bass 36 cm
Ling 63 cm Saithe 35 cm
Mackerel 30 cm Whiting 27 cm

The minimum legal sizes for the following fish no longer apply: Griet, Harder, Mul, Schar, Tarbot, Tongschar and Zeekarper.

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