Sea and Freshwater Fishing on the Costa Brava

Information on fishing licences: the permit required to fish off the Catalonia coastline or in the fresh waters of the region, and how to find out about the fishing areas of the Costa Brava...

Freshwater and sea fishing are both possible on the Costa Brava. Sea fishing is most commonly done from a boat. However, there are areas, particularly along the north coast, favoured for rock fishing. Boat rental and deep sea fishing trips can be arranged. Sea fishing is prohibited from one hour after sunset until one hour before dawn.

Underwater fishing may only be done with mask and snorkel and a mechanical harpoon. Diving and fishing with scuba gear is prohibited.

Freshwater fishing is popular in places on the River Ter and River Onyar for barbel, carp, tench and eel and Lake Banyols for carp and pike. The River Segre has stretches of government-controlled trout fishing.

There is a minimum size to the fish and shellfish that may be caught.

  • A downloadable chart of minimum sizes is available from the Ministry of Fisheries (PDF; in Catalan)

Information about local fishing areas and fishing seasons is available from the local town hall.

Catalonia: Licences for Recreational Fishing

A recreational fishing license (llicències de pesca recreativa) is required to fish the inland or marine waters, or underwater, in Catalonia.

In Catalonia, permits are available for one to four years (renewable), the price varies depending on period of duration. The licence is free for pensioners and people under 14 years of age.

An underwater fishing permit (Llicència de pesca recreativa subaquàtica) is valid for one year and is renewable. An application for an underwater fishing licence must be accompanied by an official medical certificate stating that the applicant is physically fit enough. If the certificate is not in Spanish or Catalan, it must be officially translated in either of those languages.

Licences are available for groups of up to ten or ten or more people fishing together (Llicència de pesca recreativa collectiva). There is a separate application form in this case.

  • Licences are available to anyone 16 years of age and older
  • A parent or guardian must apply for a licence for a child under 16
  • Licences are free for children under 14, for retirees and people with a permanent or total disability

Applying for a fishing licence

Recreational fishing and recreational underwater fishing licences for Catalonia can be applied for and renewed online via the Generalitat de Catalunya website. A Spanish physical address is not required. After the application is submitted, applicants receive notification via email or SMS text message that the licence is ready and printable. The applicant can then download and print the licence. Applications made online are discounted and payment is made using a credit card.

It is also possible to obtain a licence in person. To do so, an application should be submitted to the territorial Department of the Environment office (Serveis Territorials de Medi Ambient). A paying-in slip is issued, which is used to pay the licence fee at a la Caixa d'Estalvis i Pensions (La Caixa) bank or ServiCaixa self-service machine (available 24-hours a day). The bank or machine will issue a receipt, which should be taken back to the Media Ambiente office, where the licence should be issued immediately. The paying-in receipt is only valid for one month.

The following documentation is required to apply for a fishing licence in person:

  • Applicants under 16 years of age must have written permission from their legal guardian and must present a photocopy of the guardian's identification (except for renewals)
  • Photocopy of identification (DNI, NIE, NIF or passport)
  • Those requesting an underwater fishing licence must present a medical certificate (in Catalan or Spanish; or translated into Catalan or Spanish) stating the applicant is medically fit to perform spearfishing

Licences can be purchased at any time of the year.

Failure to obtain the necessary permits and licences can result in large fines and confiscation of fishing equipment. Some anglers choose to hire professional tour operators to obtain the required permits, licences and insurance.

Fishing is monitored by the following organisations:

Local Organisations

Local amateur fishing associations

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