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Landing, unloading, trading and transporting fish

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency

Fish traders in the Netherlands must comply with a range of rules. There are rules on subjects such as transport, selling from a vessel and buying. Rules also exist for fish auctions.

Landing and unloading fish

If you want to land fish in the Netherlands you must give advance notification (at least 4 hours prior to the actual landing) to the AID communications room of the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (Nederlandse Voedsel en Waren Autoriteit, NVWA). If you want to unload fish, you need permission from NVWA.

Landing obligation

Since 1 January 2015 a landing obligationExternal link applies to fish for which a catch limit is set. This means that you must land all of what you catch. You may not discard any by-catch any longer. This way, by-catches are reduced as much as possible. The landing obligation will be implemented in phases.

Fish auctions

Intermediaries at fish auctions are responsible for stating the registration numbers and nationalities of the vessels that catch or bring in fish. If the fish were caught by a pair of vessels, you must state the numbers of both vessels. You must keep a record of all the details of the fish traded through your auction.

As an intermediary, you must submit an electronic sales document to NVWA within 48 hours of the sale of the fish brought in to your auction.

Most documents, records and forms must be kept for a period of 3 years.


If you have bought fish outside the fish auction, you have to submit a report accordingly to NVWA or to a catch notification box. Only then you may receive and transport the fish.

If a minimum fish size has been set for a particular fish species and you have bought undersized fish of this species, you must be able to demonstrate the origin of this fish. In some cases, buyers of fish such as fresh herring, mackerel or horse mackerel must weigh the fish or arrange for it to be weighed. The party weighing the fish must keep a record. The weighing log and the record must be retained for 6 years. Most documents, records and forms must be retained for a period of 3 years.

Selling from a vessel

When selling from a vessel, you may only sell to registered buyers or at registered fish auctions.


Unprocessed fish transported in the Netherlands must be accompanied by a number of documents until the first sale, including a transport document. You must retain the documents for 3 years.

This article is related to:

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency