How to get a fishing license in Croatia

Fishing boats on the island Brač
Fishing boats on the island of Brač, Croatia

UPDATED: 27.2.2024.

Before you go fishing, it is important to know the rules and restrictions. In Croatia, recreational and sport fishing require a ribolovna dozvola (fishing license) whether you fish from the shore or a boat. Licenses are issued by authorized persons, institutions, and associations who are fishing rights holders.

If you go fishing without a fishing license or do not follow the rules, you can be fined between a couple hundred and a couple of thousand euros. Only children younger than 14 can go fishing without a license. They can fish with a single twine with or without the use of a pole – Tom Sawyer style.

In this post, we cover:

The facts are these…

How to get a sea fishing license in Croatia

In Croatia, recreational and sport fishing at sea called rekreacijski i športski ribolov na moru is regulated by:

  • Zakon o morskom ribarstvu (Marine Fisheries Act) – it is available here
  • Pravilnik o športskom i rekreacijskom ribolovu na moru (Rulebook on sport and recreational fishing at sea) – 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.

Types of sea fishing licenses in Croatia

There are two types of sea fishing licenses in Croatia – recreational licenses and sports licenses.

  • Types and prices of recreational fishing licenses, along with a link to purchase a license, can be found here
    • Licenses are available for 1, 3, or 7 days
    • Longer licenses are available for 150 days
    • Cost may vary based on the age and place of residence of the applicant
  • Types and prices of sports fishing licenses, along with a link to purchase a license, can be found here
    • Licenses are available for 1, 3, or 7 days
    • Longer licenses are available for 150 days
    • Cost may vary based on the age of the applicant
    • Licenses for sport fisheries are valid only with a valid annual membership card of the Croatian Association for Sport Fishing at Sea or with a valid membership card of a sport fisheries federation of another country
    • There are separate licenses for sport fisheries at sea for big fish valid for 1, 3, or 7 days

One-day and multi-day permits for sport fishing at sea are available to people who are members of a national association for sport fishing, and annual sport permits are available exclusively to members of the Hrvatski savez za sportski ribolov na moru (Croatian Association for Sport Fishing at Sea). You can view its pages here.

The answers to frequently asked questions about recreational fisheries and sport fisheries at sea, including allowable fisheries gear and equipment, can be found here.

Special sea fishing licenses in Croatia

Some types of fishing require a separate license.

  • There are special recreational sea fishing licenses for fishing with the use of the following:
    • Bottom set longlines
    • Traps for fish
    • Harpoons
    • Artificial lights
  • Special licenses can be purchased only if the annual recreational license is obtained for the same year
  • Fishing with a speargun is not allowed with a recreational fisheries license; spearfishing is allowed exclusively in sport fishing, and one angler is allowed to use up to two spearguns

Of special note, fishing at sea for tuna (Thunnus; Thunnus thynnus), sabljarka or iglun (swordfish; Xiphias gladius), and iglan (Mediterranean spearfish; Tetrapturus belone) requires a specific 1, 3, or 7-day license. The Marine Fisheries Act and related ordinances strictly regulate recreational and sport fishing licenses for Thunnus, swordfish, and Mediterranean spearfish. Relevant rules and restrictions are available here.

[Read: A guide to buying Adriatic fish at the market]

Sea fishing restrictions in Croatia

There are specific sea fishing restrictions that are important to know and abide by. This information is available here, and includes:

  • Permitted fishing tools and equipment
  • Allowed quantities of catch in sports and recreation fishing
  • Minimum sizes for certain types of fish and marine organisms
  • Marking of catch from sports and recreation fishing
  • Special license restrictions, such as those for Thunnus, swordfish, and Mediterranean spearfish

Where to buy sea fishing licenses in Croatia

Both types of recreational fisheries and sport fisheries licenses can be obtained at the following locations:

  • Official web pages of the Uprava za ribarstvo (Directorate of Fisheries) here; confirmation will be emailed
  • Offices of Directorate of Fisheries after the payment was made
  • Dealers authorized by the Directorate of Fisheries

Sport fisheries licenses can also be bought at the following locations:

  • Official web pages of the Croatian association for sport fisheries at sea here
  • Member associations of the Croatian association for sport fisheries at sea

Annual recreational permits for pensioners under the age of 65 and annual recreational permits for disabled persons of the Homeland War (HRVI) are purchased in person from the Fisheries Administration and its branches or authorized legal locations in order to show documentation verifying their status.

[Read: How to retire in Croatia]

How to get a freshwater fishing license in Croatia

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

  • Zakon o slatkovodnom ribarstvu (Freshwater Fishing Act) – it is available here
  • Pravilnik o ribičkom i ribočuvarskom ispitu u slatkovodnom ribarstvu (Rulebook on fishing and fish guard exam in freshwater fishing) – it is available here
  • Pravilnik o načinu izrade i provođenja plana upravljanja, revizije i dodatka plana upravljanja te programa praćenja stanja ribljeg fonda u slatkovodnom ribarstvu (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) – it is available here
  • Pravilnik o ribičkim dozvolama u slatkovodnom ribarstvu (Rulebook on fishing permits in freshwater fishing) – it is available here

Types of freshwater fishing licenses in Croatia

Below is a list of all available freshwater fishing licenses, as described here:

  • Licenses are available for 1, 3, or 7 days
  • Annual licenses for the current calendar year
  • Annual license for HRVI-Croatian Military War Invalids

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 Hrvatski športsko ribolovni savez (Croatian Sports Fishing Union). View its pages here.

Freshwater fishing restrictions in Croatia

Sports freshwater fishing can be performed with up to 3 fishing poles/accessories with one hook. Artificial bait lures can have up to 2 hooks in exceptional cases. Pastrva (trout), glavatica (marble trout), mladica (huchen), and lipljen (grayling) can be fished only with 1 fishing pole and 1 artificial fly/lure.

Som (catfish) 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 a counter hook. Artificial bait/fly can have 1 hook with or without a counter hook. The size of the lure can’t be less than 18 centimeters when fishing huchen and marble trout.

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

Where to buy freshwater fishing licenses in Croatia

Fishing licenses for recreational and sport freshwater fishing can be purchased from fishing rights holders. Croatia has 132 fishing rights holders, and they can be found here. This list includes fishing zones, addresses, phones, and e-mail addresses.

[Read: Best places to go fishing in Croatia]

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 in Croatia

Before going fishing, remember that some fish and other marine organisms are endangered and protected in Croatia. 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.

[Read: Endangered animals you might see in Croatia]

Get help with rules and license applications

Need help making sense of all of this information or finding out which licenses you need or what rules apply? Our research & personal assistance services are at the heart and soul of what we do here at Expat in Croatia.

We will evaluate your needs and ask any follow-up questions, as needed, to get the most holistic view of your objectives. Based on that assessment, we’ll let you know what is possible and how long we expect it to take.

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Read about other Croatian documents


Sources:
Rekreacijski i športski ribolov na moru by e-Građani
Rekreacijski i športski ribolov na slatkim vodama by e-Građani
Rekreacijski i športski ribolov na moru by Ministarstvo poljoprivrede
Sportski ribolov na slatkim vodama by Ministarstvo poljoprivrede

Please note: Information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change, and each personal case is individual, so different rules may apply. For legal advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant.

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