Sustainable development

Angling in the Netherlands, 1990-2013

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Over half a million anglers are active members of an angling club in the Netherlands, through a system of fishing passes introduced in 2007.


To fish in inland waters in the Netherlands, an angler must have written permission from the holder of the fishing rights for the water concerned. The fishing rights for most inland waters in the Netherlands lie with the angling clubs (except for eel fishing). No permit is required for sea angling.

Number of anglers

There were over 594,000 registered anglers in the Netherlands in 2013, a number that had remained fairly constant since 1989. The national fishing pass (VISpas) was introduced in 2007, with possession of written consent (e.g. the fishing pass) controlled by the police, special investigating officers and club officials.

Fishing and fish stock management

Anglers are an important group of recreational users of surface waters. The angling clubs, as the owners of the fishing rights, are also responsible for the fishing and for fish stock management. Fishing and fish stock management plans have been drawn up for the management of fishing grounds (completed in 2010). Angling affects and is affected by nature and water policy, because it also has an interest in maintaining good water quality and sustainable fish stock levels.

Effect on ecology

Fish are often introduced for angling, for example pike, Esox lucius, perch, Perca fluviatilis, roach, Rutilus rutilus, carp, Cyprinus carpio, rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss, barbel, Barbus barbus, chub, Leuciscus cephalus, rudd, Salmo trutta fario, ide, Leuciscus idus, zander, Sander lucioperca, and so on. Some species have been introduced in habitats in which they are not naturally found, or in excessive quantities. Many exotic species have also been introduced by anglers, such as the zander, brook trout, Salvelinus fontinalis, rainbow trout, bighead carp, Hypophthalmichthys nobilis, and silver carp, Hypophthalmichthys molitrix.
Anglers have an interest in maintaining a good ecosystem, and therefore in supporting better fish migration, in limiting the dumping of dredging materials in deep water and in limiting energy generation in hydro-electric power stations. On the other hand, angling clubs do not believe that active biological management can be used to improve the ecology of inland waters.
The sturgeon, Acipenser sturio, was extinct in the Netherlands since 1953 and in 2012 the sturgeon was introduced. Other reintroduction programs were for the allis shad, Alosa alosa, and burbot, Lota lota. The eel, Anguilla anguilla, is an endangered species and anglers are advised to throw the fish back.


Archive for this indicator

Reference for this page

CBS, PBL, RIVM, WUR (2014). Angling in the Netherlands, 1990-2013 (indicator 1275, version 06 , 30 September 2014 ). Statistics Netherlands (CBS), The Hague; PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, The Hague; RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven; and Wageningen University and Research, Wageningen.

The Environmental Data Compendium is a partnership of CBS, PBL, RIVM and WUR.