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Ban on magnet fishing in the municipality of Groningen does not yet result in fines

The ban on magnet fishing in the municipality of Groningen has not yet resulted in fines. The municipality confirms this.

Groningen has had a ban on magnet fishing since 2002. Fines have therefore not been handed out. However, the municipality has issued warnings to magnet fishermen: eight in 2018 and four in 2017. If a fisherman more often ignores the ban, the municipality will proceed to a fine. 

Municipalities find it a problem that fishermen with a magnet on a line sometimes retrieve a firearm or explosive. The municipality of Groningen is also afraid that magnet fishermen will pull cables and pipes loose.

There are things that have more priority

spokesperson for the municipality of Groningen

Other priorities

When reports come in from magnet fishermen, the municipality will send extraordinary investigating officers (boas) to the magnet fishermen. But the municipality is not actively enforcing the ban. “We think this is an important point, but there are matters that have more priority,” said a spokesman for the municipality.


In the newspaper Trouw, a magnet fisherman was concerned about the ban. It would backfire. ‘Magnet fishermen now have a reason not to report found weapons and explosives, because they risk a fine’.

Always report any ammunition or weapons found, anonymously if necessary

spokesperson for the municipality of Groningen

A spokesperson said: ‘It’s an understandable response, but not a smart idea at all. There is a great risk with old ammunition and weapons. With the strong magnets, the safety catches or ignition pins can be triggered and that is life-threatening. It is no coincidence that the Explosives Ordnance Disposal Service always takes overlying explosives and ammunition very seriously. Our motto is therefore: Always report found ammunition or weapons, anonymously if necessary, but do not take it with you or throw it back. If it happens to you: leave everything there, distance yourself and call the police immediately. ‘

No explosives found

As far as the municipality is aware, it has not yet happened that magnet fishermen have caught an explosive.

Groningen is not the only municipality where a ban applies, but no fines are handed out. Magnetic fishermen are also not fined in Haarlem, Delft, Arnhem and Nijmegen, despite a ban. In the municipality of Groningen, the fine for magnet fishing is 125 euros. 

This article has been supplemented with further explanations from the spokesperson for the municipality of Groningen. Earlier we mentioned that the ban has been in place since 2020. That had to be 2002