German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)

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Use of inland waters

Fish caught and produced in German inland fisheries and inland fish farming in 2014

Most freshwater fish marketed in Germany is from inland aquaculture

Inland fisheries (fish catching) and inland aquaculture (fish farming) are a significant sector of the economy in Germany. More than half of freshwater fish were reared on fish farms in 2014. The remainder (about 40 of the total quantity) were caught primarily in leisure fishing and in smaller quantities in professional fishing in lakes and rivers. Overall, fishing and fish farming have a major ecological impact on fish stocks in German inland waters.


Inland fishing and fish farming in inland aquacultures are a significant sector of the economy in Germany. The total quantity of fish caught or farmed was estimated at some 50,000 tonnes in 2014. More than half of this quantity (27,883 tonnes) came from inland aquaculture. The remainder were caught in lakes and rivers. By far the largest share of this was accounted for by angling/recreational fishing with 18,450 tonnes (37 percent of the total), while commercial fishing made up just 3,100 tonnes (6 percent of the total).

Inland fisheries and inland aquaculture have negative ecological impacts on fish stocks

In the past, the main ecological impacts of inland fisheries have been on individual fish species. Commercial fishing thus led to the decline or extinction of migratory fish species such as sturgeon, salmon and allis shad. Fish are now often released into natural waters to improve the chances of success when fishing. Captive-reared fish released in this way and fish escaping from fish farms threaten to alter the genetic diversity of wild populations of the same species. Adherence to good fishing practice is one way of minimising the negative impacts of inland fisheries.

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