How to get a fishing license in Croatia

Fishing boat in Croatia
Image by Marco Verch Professional Photographer

Before you go fishing, it is important to know the rules and restrictions. In Croatia, everyone who wants to go fishing must first get a license to do so. This license is mandatory both for seawater fishing and freshwater fishing.

Fishing licenses are issued by authorized persons, institutions, and associations who are fishing rights holders. A fishing license is called “ribolovna dozvola” in Croatian. Fishing translates as ribolov.

If you go fishing without a fishing license, you can get a fine between 2.000 kuna and 5.000 kuna.

In this post, we cover:

The facts are these…

Sea fishing licenses

Recreational and sport fishing at sea (rekreacijski i športski ribolov na moru) in Croatia is regulated by:

  • Sea fishing act (Zakon o morskom ribarstvu) – It is available here
  • Rulebook on sport and recreational fishing at sea (Pravilnik o športskom i rekreacijskom ribolovu na moru) – It is available here

However, other regulations governing fishing, fishing tools and equipment, and protection of fish and other aquatic organisms can also be applied to sea fishing.

For recreational and sport fishing in the Adriatic sea, a fishing license is mandatory. It is required regardless of whether you fish from the shore or a boat.

However, children under the age of 14 can go fishing at sea without a license. They can fish with a single twine with or without the use of a pole – Tom Sawyer style.

Sport fishing allows using an underwater rifle for persons older than 16 years of age, without the use of diving equipment. This is allowed only in sport fishing. One person can use two underwater rifles maximum.

Types of sea fishing licenses

Sea fishing licenses include recreational licenses and sports licenses.

Types of sea fishing licenses:

  • Recreational licenses
    • Daily license – 60 kuna
    • 3 day license – 150 kuna
    • Weekly license – 300 kuna
    • Annual license for minors and Croatian war veterans – 100 kuna
    • Annual license for adult persons – 500 kuna
    • Annual license for retired persons and persons older than 65 – 100 kuna
  • Sports licenses
    • Daily license – 60 kuna
    • 3 day license – 150 kuna
    • Weekly license – 300 kuna
    • Annual license for minors and Croatian war veterans – 10 kuna
    • Annual license for adult persons – 350 kuna
    • Annual license for retired persons and persons older than 65 – 60 kuna

Daily sports licenses and multi-day sports licenses are available to persons who are members of one of the national federations for sport fishing (nacionalni savez za športski ribolov).

Annual licenses are available only to members of the Croatian Association for Sport Fishing at Sea (Hrvatski savez za športski ribolov na moru).

Special sea fishing licenses

Some types of fishing require additional fishing licenses.

Special licenses are required for:

  • Spearfishing – 100 kuna
    • Sport license – 100 kuna
    • Recreational license – 100 kuna
  • Trawl line fishing
    • Sport license – 200 kuna
    • Recreational license -.200 kuna
  • Coops (Trap) fishing
    • Sport license – 200 kuna
    • Recreational license -.200 kuna
  • Use of artificial lighting
    • Sport license – 100 kuna
    • Recreational license -.100 kuna
  • Use of fishing tools for big fish
    • Daily sport license – 120 kuna
    • 3-day sport license – 300 kuna
    • Weekly sport license – 600 kuna
  • Fishing in protected areas – Prices are defined by national parks, strict reserves, and nature parks

Licenses for spearfishing, trawl line fishing, coops fishing, and use of artificial lighting can be issued only to persons who possess an annual license.

Licenses for use of fishing tools for big fish can be issued only to persons who possess an annual sport license.

Sea fishing restrictions

Recreational and sport sea fishing allows you to catch up to 5 kilograms of fish and other marine organisms in one day. This amount can be only be higher by the weight of one fish or one other marine organism that you catch.

The allowed amount of live shellfish is up to 2 kilograms out of the total allowed amount of five kilograms. This is not valid for mussels (dagnje). You can catch up to 5 kilogram of mussels per day.

Marine organisms are:

  • Shellfish (školjkaši)
  • Sea snails (morski puževi)
  • Polychaetes (mnogočetinaši)

Below are restrictions on minimum sizes of fish and shells you are allowed to catch:

  • Atlantic Bonito (palamida) – 45 centimeters
  • Black Seabream (kantar) – 18 centimeters
  • Common Dentex (zubatac) – 30 centimeters
  • Corb (kavala) – 30 centimeters
  • Greater Amberjack (gof) – 45 centimeters
  • Mussels (dagnje) – 6 centimeters
  • Octopus (hobotnica) – 1 kilogram
  • Oyster (kamenica) – 7 centimeters
  • Red Scorpionfish (škarpina) – 30 centimeters
  • Spiny Dogfish (kostelj) – 66 centimeters
  • Starry Smooth-hound (pas mekaš) – 80 centimeters
  • Warty Venus (kunjka) – 5 centimeters

Some fish must be marked by cutting off the lower part of the caudal fin. Some cephalopods must be marked by deep incision of the head in the area between the eyes. They must be marked immediately after the catch or before leaving the place of catch.

Below are the fish that must be marked once caught:

  • Atlantic Bonito (palamida)
  • Bass (brancin)
  • Common Dentex (zubatac)
  • Black Seabream (kantar)
  • Common Pandora (arbun)
  • Common Two-banded seabream (fratar)
  • Dusky Grouper (kirnja)
  • European Hake (oslić)
  • Gilt-head Bream (orada)
  • Greater Amberjack (gof)
  • John Dory (kovač)
  • Korb (kavala)
  • Red Porgy (pagar)
  • Red Scorpionfish (škarpina)
  • Sand Steenbras (ovčica)
  • Sargo (šarag)
  • Sheephead Bream (pic)
  • Stone Bass (kirnja glavulja)

Where to buy sea fishing licenses

Sea fishing licenses can be purchased via:

  • Ministry of Agriculture (Ministarstvo poljoprivrede)
    • Fishing administration offices (Uprava ribarstva)
    • Online – via this link
  • Authorized persons and institutions
  • Members of Croatian Association for Sport Fishing at Sea (Hrvatski savez za športski ribolov na moru)

Freshwater fishing licenses

Recreational and sport freshwater fishing (rekreacijski i športski ribolov na slatkim vodama) in Croatia is regulated by:

  • Freshwater fishing act (Zakon o slatkovodnom ribarstvu) – It is available here
  • Rulebook on fishing and fish guard exam in freshwater fishing (Pravilnik o ribičkom i ribočuvarskom ispitu u slatkovodnom ribarstvu) – It is available here
  • Rulebook on the manner of drafting and implementing the management plan, revision and addition of the management plan, and the program for monitoring the state of fish stocks in freshwater fishing (Pravilnik o načinu izrade i provođenja plana upravljanja, revizije i dodatka plana upravljanja te programa praćenja stanja ribljeg fonda u slatkovodnom ribarstvu) – It is available here
  • Rulebook on fishing permits in freshwater fishing (Pravilnik o ribičkim dozvolama u slatkovodnom ribarstvu) – It is available here

Types of freshwater fishing licenses

Below is a list of all available freshwater fishing licenses:

  • Daily license
    • All types of fish (Salmonid fish excluded) – 60 kuna
    • Salmonid fish – 150 kuna
    • Fishing zone “Otočac” – 250 kuna
  • Annual license
    • Persons 15-18 years of age – 200 kuna
    • Adult persons – 400 kuna

To get an annual freshwater fishing license, first, you must pass a fishing exam. You must also be a member of the club of one of the fishing rights holders or Croatian Sports Fishing Union (Hrvatski športsko ribolovni savez).

Freshwater fishing restrictions

Sports freshwater fishing can be performed with up to 3 fishing poles/accessories with one hook. Artificial bait-lure can have up to 2 hooks in exceptional cases. Trout (pastrva), Marble Trout (glavatica), Huchen (mladica), and Grayling (lipljen) can be fished only with 1 fishing pole and 1 artificial fly/lure.

Catfish (som) fishing from a boat can be performed only with 1 fishing pole, rod or line with 1 hook. Artificial lures can have up to 2 hooks (single, double or triple hook) with or without counter hook. Artificial bait/fly can have 1 hook with or without counter hook. The size of the lure can’t be less than 18 centimeters when fishing Huchen (mladica) and Marble Trout (glavatica).

Fishing rights holders can determine their own internal rules regarding daily catch limits in kilograms or pieces and night fishing, for example.

Where to buy freshwater fishing licenses

Fishing licenses for recreational and sport freshwater fishing can be purchased from fishing rights holders. There are 132 fishing rights holders in Croatia.

The list of all fishing rights holders can be found here. This list includes fishing zones, addresses, phones, and e-mail addresses.

If you are not into fishing, you can always buy fresh fish at the market. Check out our detailed guide on how to buy fresh seawater fish at the market. It is available here.

Endangered fish

Before going fishing, keep in mind that some fish and other marine organisms are endangered and protected. The Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development has published red lists that include information on the risk of extinction of certain fish species. Don’t fish these species.

A red list of sea fish that must not be fished in Croatia is available here.

A red list of freshwater fish that must not be fished in Croatia is available here.

You can also see our post on endangered species in Croatia here.


Sources:
https://gov.hr/hr/rekreacijski-i-sportski-ribolov-na-moru/1542
https://gov.hr/hr/rekreacijski-i-sportski-ribolov-na-slatkim-vodama/1552
https://ribarstvo.mps.hr/default.aspx?id=21
https://ribarstvo.mps.hr/default.aspx?id=20

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