Last spring, a Dutch colleague of mine asked me to join him for a day of fishing at a pond in Ommeren. Since fishing is my hobby, I accepted his offer immediately. However, I soon discovered that fishing in the Netherlands is quite different from the fishing I know.
Illustration: Henk van Ruitenbeek
The night before the fishing day, I went to my colleague’s place. While we prepared the fishing tackle, I asked him why not many people go fishing in the Dutch rivers or canals. He answered that everybody here in the Netherlands must have a fishing pass before they go fishing in any water: rivers, canals or the sea. You can buy this pass for about 40 euros. And if you want to fish at night, you have to have an additional night-fishing permit.
He further warned me that if you catch a fish from the river, you have to put it back in the water immediately. You cannot take it home, otherwise you receive a fine. Also, there are regulations about the minimum sizes of fishes that you are allowed to catch, and there is a code of conduct for handling fish before releasing them back into the water.
To me, this is really weird. Why would you buy a fishing pass and go fishing at all if you must release the fish again? It is torturing the fish, isn’t it? In my country people can go fishing anywhere they want without a pass. Moreover, people can consume the fish they catch or sell them on the market, no matter the size.
Luckily, my colleague had arranged for us to go fishing at a fishpond. We had to make a reservation and pay a fee, but we did not need a fish pass. Also, we could take as many fish back home as we could catch. Happy fishing!
Eko Nugroho, a PhD student of Agricultural Economics and Rural Policy Group, from Indonesia
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