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Issue No.52
  • :September
  • :2016



Nurturing the eel

Inland fishers in The Netherlands participate in managing inland eel fisheries

By Cornelie Quist (, Member, ICSF

Aaltje is a young woman professional inland fisher in The Netherlands. Her name means ‘little eel’ in Dutch. “I was born to become an eel fisher,” she says. “Since I was a small kid I used to go fishing with my father and learnt the skill from him. When he stopped after 30 years of fishing, I took over.” She was 24 years old then. Her two brothers had preferred other professions.

At first Aaltje’s father had not expected her to take over from him, because she was trained as a primary school teacher and loved to work with children. Aaltje says: “For me there was only one opportunity to become a professional fisher. If I did not take over from my father, our area of fishing would have to be returned to our Union of Inland Fishers to be divided among other inland fishers of our region. I did not like this idea, because my family had been fishing this water for several generations. That is why I decided to take over my father’