Licenses and Law – Germany

Please be informed that the following rules & regulations only refer to coastal waters of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania! Rules & Regulations of the inland waters of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania as well as for coastal and inland waters of other German states might differ.

We do our best to keep the below information up-to-date. However, we do not assume liability for the accuracy of the information given below. In case of doubt, please refer to the latest information on the websites of the respective ministries and institutions. Last Update: September 2018

For fishing in the Baltic Sea around Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (MV), you always need two documents: a valid fishing licence and a fishing permit for the particular water. Fishing licences from other countries or other German federal states are accepted as long as they are issued by a government agency, are valid and the owner is not principally resident in MV. All people interested in recreational fishing who do not have an official fishing licence can obtain a tourist fishing licence (“Touristenfischereischein”). This temporary licence is valid for 28 days and costs 24 euros. It can be extended several times during the calendar year, each time for 13 euros. You can find a brochure with English translation about the tourist fishing licence (“Broschüre”), the list of authorised issuing offices (“Adressliste”) and the application document (“Formblatt”) here.

In addition to the general fishing licence, you need a fishing permit. In MV, no waters can be fished without permission. For the coastal waters, including the inner coastal waters and the Baltic Sea up to 12 nautical miles, the state of Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania holds the fishing licence for these waters, provided third parties do not also have a right to fish. The fishing licence can be obtained in local fisheries offices, tackle shops, tourist agencies on site, or online at the responsible State Office as well as on You can buy a day permit for 6 euros, a weekly ticket for 12 euros or a permit for the whole calendar year for 30 euros. Annual permits for children, young people or people with a disabled person’s pass are available for 10 euros. Children up to age 14 can go fishing without a fishing licence, but with their own fishing permit. They can also join in under your supervision – in the area for which your documents apply, while observing the local rules and regulations, and as long as you keep the child within sight and ensure that the rules and regulations of fisheries and nature and fauna conservation protection are complied with.

For some fish species certain restrictions concerning closed seasons, minimum sizes and bag limits exist.
You can find an extract from the list with the minimum sizes and closed seasons for some species in the chart below (Status: August 2018). Please always check the entire and up-to-date list before you start your fishing trip here.

Name Minimum size within coastal waters Closed season within coastal waters
Bass (Perca fluviatilis) 20 cm
Cod (Gadus morhua) 35 cm 01.02. – 31.03*
Flounder (Platichthys flesus) 25 cm
Pike (Esox lucius) 50 cm 01.03. – 30.04.
Dab (Limanda limanda) 25 cm
Salmon (Salmo salar) 60 cm 15.09. – 14.12.
Sea trout (Salmo trutta trutta) 45 cm 15.09. – 14.12.
Plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) 25 cm
Pikeperch (Sander lucioperca) 45 cm** 23.04 – 22.05.

* From 01.02. to 31.03. it is not allowed to take more than three cod per day
** Within the fishing districts Darßer Boddenkette, Peenestrom and Stettiner Haff (German part), 40 cm

Bag limits per day:

  • Cod (Gadus morhua): 5 fish from 1 April to 31 January; three fish from 1 February to 31 March
  • Pike (Esox Lucius): 3 fish
  • Pikeperch (Sander lucioperca): 3 fish
  • Salmonids (Salmon (Salmo salar) and Sea trout (Salmo trutta trutta) together): 3 fish

Be aware that recreational fishing without any intent to consume the caught fish is not allowed in Germany. In the fishing permission is listed which and how many catching devices you may use. Often up to three hand rods and a bait trap are permitted. But you are only allowed to use the bait fish trap to catch fish as bait and not for consumption. Furthermore, the use of live bait fish is prohibited. Recreational anglers are not allowed to use professional fishing gear (e.g. nets, bow nets etc.) or injuring catching devices such as harpoons, spears, explosives, poison, immobile multiple hooks and injurious fishing methods such as “tearing” the fish. Keep a distance of at least 100 m from commercial fishing gear.

Trolling is not permissible in shallow waters, lagoons and bays (fisheries districts according to § 14 Coastal Fisheries Directive). From 15 September to 15 March, trolling is additionally prohibited in some areas (§ 9 Coastal Fisheries Directive). Furthermore, certain areas are declared as “fish close area”, “close spawning area” or “winter asylum”, in which fishing is prohibited or only possible with restrictions (§ 11–13 Coastal Fisheries Directive).

All mentioned areas are specified in the Coastal Fisheries Directive.

Additional rules for fishing and boating in protected areas exist. For further information click here or here.

Parts of this text are taken from the brochure about the temporary fishing licence to avoid giving false legal information.