Fishing is a popular sport, widely practiced in the many rivers, canals and lakes of France and along the sea coast. The sport is strictly policed for ecological reasons, and all restrictions must be adhered to. Fishing is managed at a regional level.
Any person wanting to fish in France must first get a fishing permit (carte de pêche) from the local AAPPMA (Associations Agrées de Pêche et de Protection du Milieu Aquatique) affiliated fishing association. The website of the Fédération Nationale de la Pêche links to local fishing association details. Find out where to fish in the area, the local legislation, fishing season dates for each year (these change depending on fish stocks) and where to get a fishing permit.
Fishing areas fall into two categories, each of which has different permit requirements and seasons:
Note: It is illegal to fish without a fishing permit (carte de pêche); the local Mairies provides dates for the season.
There are a variety of fishing permits available and it's obligatory for any person line-fishing in France to carry a valid carte de pêche on all fishing excursions. Permits are issued to an individual and include an ID photograph. If a permit is lost or destroyed a new one must be purchased.
The carte de pêche available are:
Fishing permits can be bought online in some departments:
Open seasons vary for the two fishing categories from year to year. They also differ from region to region. The seasons are normally announced at the start of a year and may begin any time from early spring and end in autumn.
Details of the season are published in local newspapers and are available from the town hall.
The Fédération Nationale de la Pêche also publishes the dates on its website as soon as they become available.
Fishing is generally permitted between 30 and 50 nautical miles from the coast with tuna and swordfish being the most commonly targeted prey. Licensed fishing parties generally use smaller coastal ports.
This sport is heavily legislated with strict regulations regarding what may be caught, where it may be caught and when.
Fishing from the beach or the rocks by the sea (pêche à pied) does not require a permit in France. It does however require the fisher to respect the following:
As with shore fishing, no permit is required. However the catch may not be sold and there is a limit on the number of lines or traps that may be used. The City Hall (Mairie) or Affaires Maritimes in the department has information on local restrictions.
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