Posted by: puebloman | August 7, 2009

Fishy Business. . .

Fans of this blog will have noticed that it has been lying fallow for some time. the truth is, I haven’t been able to do anthing at all because all my time’s been taken up trying to obtain an Andalucian fishing licence.
The process of getting a licence in Andalucia (all the regions of Spain have different rules), says quite a lot about Spanish administration and the rule of law. In Andalucia, you need a licence to fish in the sea – one to fish from the shore and a different one to fish from a boat. However, it’s freshwater fishing that really gives you a headache. Aliens like myself could be forgiven for thinking that the rules were made up at the department of the environment not by fishermen or even by sportsmen but by whey faced beaurocrats with nothing to do but bugger up the tourist industry.
In the first place they make no distinction between hunting and fishing so fishing for minnows in a stream is treated exactly the same as striding through the scrub with a double barrelled shotgun blasting away at wild boar. Consequently, to go fishing you need personal liability insurance, presumably in case you maim or slaughter people with your bobble float.
A fishing licence, like a hunting licence, requires you to have passed an examination not unlike the written part of a driving test. It is in a number of sections, takes 40 days to mark, and you can pay to go on a course and to buy sample test papers to maximise your chance of passing, but don’t expect to simply pick up a licence for a weeks holiday fishing. And don’t expect to be asked sensible questions either. Questions like “how do you cleanly and safely remove a hook from a fishes mouth” or “what are the advantages of returning fish to the water” are not allowed. Instead questions like “How are the waters in the lower depths of reservoirs oxygenated?” Suggest that the they are compiled by a team hand picked from the Saturday help, non of whom have ever gone fishing. Or anywhere.
Once you have passed your examinations, been taken out by your family to a celebration dinner, hired an insurance agent to obtain your comprehensive personal liability, you are then in a position to receive your personal authorised fisherman’s number. I haven’t yet got this far so I’m not sure if it comes through the post like a congratuatory telegram from the Queen, or whether you are summoned to the offices of the department of the environment to have it bestowed personally upon you by the chief assistant to the assistant chief examiner of fishermen.
However you receive it, once you have it in your grasp you are – at last! allowed to pay for it. You take your number, your insurance, a formal means of personal indentification and the fee to one of the banks authorised by the department of the environment to receive moneys from, and disburse licences to, fishermen and hunters.
How do ordinary Spaniards deal with this? How come the Andalucian tourist fishing industry isn’t in a state of utter collapse? Well, as with all convoluted Spanish beaurocracy and petty regulation there are “ways and means” dear reader, some of which I shall expound in later missives . . . .



  1. Lake Vinuela May 15th 2011: Loads of barbecues and people fishing. People fishing under parasols, people fishing with mucic playing, people fishing while tending a barbecue at the same time etc.

    Just fish! No one cares a F**K!


    • As i said. The law isn’t enforced. But if you are a law abiding Brit you find the Spanish habit of too many laws and no enforcement, is as you say, third world.


  2. Very interesting piece, in the Valencia region (where I live) its different but can still take up to 10 days.

    I have a B&B, but the one major problem is the form, where it says DNI or passport number. The banks software does not recognise a “passport number”, therefore I have to use my DNI number, but with my guests details, then a note is attached to the form before being sent off for processing.

    Interesting you say the law isn’t enforced, (it is here), in only 18 months I’ve had to show my license twice. In 35 years of fishing in England, I was only asked to show my license once.

    This is how we obtained our first licenses:

    Tight Lines,



    • Hi Jamie
      Thanks for your input and the advice. Have we crossed lines on this in the Olive Press?
      I came to Andalucia hoping to fish for carp, freshwater bass and perhaps a little fly fishing for trout round Loja.
      Now I sea fish off the rocks at Nerja. Its alright. I must be the only person in Spain with a licence to fish off the rocks. No one has ever asked to see it. But if you try to fish Rio Frio (trout) someone will be on you in 10 minutes. Tight lines and good luck!


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