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Act CII of 2013 on fisheries and the protection of fish

  • Published on January 21, 2021

The objective of the instrument is the protection of native fish stocks, declared a national asset. This includes the stopping of commercial fishing on Hungarian natural waters and the shift of market fish supply to aquaculture. 

The act regulates the conditions for exercising fisheries rights, the activities related to fisheries and the protection of fish and fish habitats conducted in and on the banks of fisheries areas and in fish production facilities situated in the territory of Hungary, the rights and obligations of persons practicing these activities or having influence thereon – in particular, the operators of waters and aquatic facilities suitable for fisheries activities as well as other persons having right to use the fisheries areas and the banks thereof, water users –, the tasks and competences related to fisheries management, and the conditions for the trade of fish and fish products.

As it is a legislative act, no specific budget is allocated for its implementation, even though it also includes provisions of budgetary nature, e.g. on the fisheries-related state revenues and their spending.

Act CII of 2013 on fisheries and the protection of fish represents an important paradigm shift in that it regards fish stocks not merely as a resource to be exploited, as previously, but as a value to be preserved through rational management and exploitation. It has declared native fish stocks a national asset and made their protection a priority objective. One of the most important provisions of the Act was the banning (in 2016) of commercial fishing on Hungarian natural waters. As a consequence, fisheries management on natural waters has shifted towards recreational uses, while aquaculture has become the main source of market fish supply.

In addition to recreational fishing and angling, the Act has retained selective fishing for ecological purposes (i.e. removal of alien species and, if necessary, culling of native ones) allowing the marketing of fish caught during this activity. The Act and its implementing decrees also regulate the movement of native and alien species between separate water bodies and between natural waters and aquaculture installations, the fishing rights on natural waters, the obligation of fishing water managers to guard the fish stocks from poaching and rescue fish stocks endangered by pollution or natural processes (e.g. drought), as well as the order of fisheries data collection.

The Act determines the fisheries-related purposes that can be supported from fisheries-related state revenues (e.g. fish guarding, promotion of fish consumption, fisheries research etc.), as well as the sanctions applicable for infraction of the Act’s provisions.

The implementing rules of the Act are included in a number of implementing decrees (e.g. Ministerial Decree 133/2013. (XII. 29.) VM on the setting of some rules of fisheries management and fish protection; Ministerial Decree 47/2021. (XII. 13.) AM on fish production) which also include a number of important provisions aiming at a more sustainable fish production. In particular, the Ministerial Decree 47/2021. (XII. 13.) AM contains provisions transposing the Council Regulation (EC) No. 708/2007 concerning use of alien and locally absent species in aquaculture, and it also has banned the propagation and fry rearing of a number of alien species in the catchment area of Lake Balaton.

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