According to Section 293 of the German Criminal Code (StGB), fish poaching is the violation of a foreign fishing law or fishing exercise right by someone fishing unauthorized or appropriating, damaging or destroying an object that is subject to fishing law. She is punished with imprisonment for up to two years or with a fine .
The offense of fish poaching is a dogmatic peculiarity under criminal law. In principle, § 11 No. 6 StGB defines that the undertaking of an act includes its attempt and its completion. As a so-called “bogus corporate offense”, the offense of fish poaching lacks the distinction between the attempt and the completion of the act. Ultimately, the actual success (fish on the line) is not the focus. Simply putting a rod in the water leads to the completion of the deed.
Fish poaching only applies to fish in waters that are ownerless. In private waters and ponds, the unauthorized catch of fish is not fish poaching, but theft according to § 242 StGB. The crime is not directed against fish alone. Fish in the sense of fishing law also include lampreys , crabs and mussels , and in some federal states also fish food animals. Anyone who buys and resells fish caught under fish poaching is punishable by stealing under Section 259 of the Criminal Code.
Exceeding catch quotas is sufficient for fish poaching to materialize, provided these are regulated by law.
A criminal complaint is required according to § 294 StGB. Furthermore, fishing rods and other fishing equipment can be confiscated according to § 295 StGB.
In the Reich Criminal Code, fish poaching was considered an application offense with the gravity of an offense. Section 296 of the R-StGB regulated fish poaching as fish or crabs using torch light or at night, using harmful or exploding substances . The penalty was a fine of up to 200 thalers / 600 marks or a prison sentence of up to six months.
The offense was redrafted from September 1, 1935 in § 293: Fish poaching encompassed fishing, appropriating, damaging or destroying property in violation of foreign fishing law. The sentence was imprisonment for up to two years or a fine. Particularly serious cases were punished with imprisonment for not less than a month. Commercial or habitual fish poaching was punished with at least three months in prison.
As part of the major criminal law reform in 1969, the sentence for particularly serious cases and commercial or habitual cases was limited to a maximum of five years imprisonment.
From January 1, 1975, a minimum penalty in the form of a fine was possible for particularly serious cases of fish poaching.
Since April 1, 1998, the criminal offenses of particularly serious and commercial or habitual fish poaching have been deleted without replacement.