The control and enforcement of fisheries in the Netherlands
This case study assesses the Netherlands’ compliance with EU laws for detecting, prosecuting and sanctioning illegal fishing practices by its vessels and in its waters. It is based on a combination of desk-based research and interviews with key stakeholders.
Our key findings and recommendations include:
- Increase the independence of the NVWA and the quality and effectiveness of inspections by ensuring there is sufficient funding, equipment and staff to inspect and impose sanctions.
- Ensure that the level of sanctions applied is actually deterrent. Information collected throughout this study suggests that the level of sanctions in the Netherlands is quite low, in contradiction with the requirements of the Control Regulation. In addition, official guidance must be provided by the Ministry of Economic Affairs to the administrative and judicial authorities to ensure that they take into account the impact on the fish stock(s) concerned, and the marine environment, when deciding on the amount of a fine or sanction.
- Increase cooperation between the administrative and judicial authorities to ensure better coherence of the sanctions applied.
- Increase transparency through improving the availability and reliability of implementation data. Not only is most of the data not publically available, but it was also sometimes contradictory. Publishing consolidated data on fisheries infringements and sanctions would help to build trust amongst the fishing communities operating within the Netherlands and across Europe, and ultimately ensure that the level-playing field necessary to promote a culture of compliance actually exists.
This report is part of a series of case studies on the control and enforcement of fisheries in Europe, with other case studies including in France, England, the Republic of Ireland and Poland. A summary report brings together findings from all four countries to make broader recommendations.