Fisheries commissions in boundary waters

Within the framework of a division of tasks between the Confederation and the cantons, the Confederation is primarily concerned with species protection issues and the cantons with management issues. However, the Confederation is also involved in the management of the boundary waters, as it implements the international fisheries treaties.

In boundary waters, fish stocks move independently of national borders. Accordingly, national regulations in one state also affect stocks in the other state.

International fisheries agreements exist for the cross-border harmonisation of fisheries management and protection measures in border waters.

The Federal Council regulates the composition of the various decision-making bodies of the fisheries commissions in the Fisheries Ordinance.

Lake Geneva

The Lake Geneva Fisheries Agreement aims to harmonise fisheries legislation in France and Switzerland and to provide effective protection for fish and their habitats.
The supreme body is the Fisheries Advisory Committee, made up of four representatives each from Switzerland (the Confederation and the cantonal governments of Vaud, Geneva and Valais) and France.

Lake Constance

Agreement for fishing in Lake Constance Upper Lake: In order to preserve and increase the valuable fish, the shore states on Lake Constance Upper Lake (Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Vorarlberg, St. Gallen and Thurgau) apply the same regulations for fishing. Joint management is based on an old agreement (year 1893).

An international conference of plenipotentiaries is the supreme body. Members are one authorised representative from each riparian state and one from the Principality of Liechtenstein, as the tributaries are also included in the fisheries management.

Lake Constance - Untersee and Seerhein

Agreement on fisheries in Lake Constance - Untersee and Seerhein: For the harmonised fisheries management of Lake Constance - Untersee and Seerhein, the agreement provides for an international fisheries commission, in which Switzerland is represented by a person responsible for fisheries supervision in the canton of Thurgau and one person each from the circle of professional and angling fisheries. The fisheries commission advises the plenipotentiaries and the Constance District Office (which heads the commission and acts as its office) on current fisheries issues.

Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano

Agreement for fisheries in Lake Maggiore, Lake Lugano and Lake Tresa: The purpose of the agreement is to harmonise fisheries management, to support the development of professional and angling fisheries and to contribute to the protection and improvement of the waters.

One person from Switzerland representing the Confederation and two persons representing the Canton of Ticino sit on the International Fisheries Commission.


The Doubs Fisheries Agreement not only mentions fisheries management in its title, but is the only fisheries agreement to explicitly mention the protection of aquatic habitats. Its aim is to harmonise the legal provisions governing fishing in France and Switzerland and thus effectively protect fish and their habitat.

According to the agreement, the highest body is the Joint Fisheries Commission, which is made up of three representatives from Switzerland (the Confederation and one from each of the cantons of Neuchâtel and Jura) and France.

High Rhine

Agreement for fisheries in the High Rhine: Joint fisheries management is based on an old agreement (year 1887) and provides for the formation of an international fisheries commission in which Switzerland is represented by one person each from the Confederation and the cantons of Zurich, Basel-Stadt, Basel-Land, Aargau, Schaffhausen and Thurgau. The Commission advises the plenipotentiaries of Switzerland and the state of Baden-Württemberg on fisheries issues.

In order to counteract a further decline of the fish stock in the High Rhine, the necessary measures were formulated and recorded and decided in the "Strategy Plan 2025 - Fisheries Management High Rhine". In this context, not only fisheries management but also the water ecosystem of the High Rhine is considered integrally as a whole.


For the fisheries in the Rheinau reservoirs, there is a separate management committee with one person each from the cantons of Zurich and Schaffhausen; however, this committee also discusses any fisheries issues in this reservoir within the Fisheries Commission for the entire High Rhine.

Current information on catch and stocking can be found in the federal fishery statistics.

Weiterführende Informationen

Last modification 16.11.2020

Top of page