Insect collecting is generally legal in the Czech Republic
Collecting insects and other invertebrates can be legally performed by all persons in all non-protected and several protected areas in the Czech Republic. Preservation, storaging, holding and export of insect and other invertebrate specimens is also legal. You therefore need no permission for insect collecting and research in the Czech Republic. However, there is a number of exemptions.
Prohibited activities linked to insect collecting
Collection, preserving, disturbing, killing, captivity holding, export, but also import of protected species, is prohibited. The list of species protected by law in the CZ can be downloaded here.
Insect collecting, as well as any other similar activities, is also prohibited in several protected areas. It is illegal to collect insects in the following protected areas: (1) National Parks (Národní park, NP); (2) Natural Reserves (Přírodní rezervace, PR); and (3) National Natural Reserves (Národní přírodní rezervace, NPR). In 1st National Park zones and NPRs, also entrance is forbidden except official touristic paths and roads.
There are also other types of protected areas, in which insect collecting is generally allowed, but in some cases, it can be regionally prohibited as well. These protected areas are mainly (1) Natural Monuments (Přírodní památka, PP); (2) National Natural Monuments (Národní přírodní památka, NPP); (3) Natural Parks (Přírodní park); and (4) Protected Landscape Areas (Chráněná krajinná oblast, CHKO). In the Protected Landscape Areas (CHKO), insect collecting is only legal in areas, which are not also under subsequent protection as Nature Reserves (PR) or National Nature Reserves (NPR).
Borders of all protected areas are distinctly marked on all roads and touristic paths crossing the area by green banners with the Czech National Emblem and the type of the protected area. Small-scale protected area borders (PP, NPP, PR, and NPR) are also distinctly marked on trees by red stripes – one stripe marks the direction where the area is protected, two stripes on the opposite side mark the non-protected area. All protected areas with borders are also marked in all Czech touristic maps (they are accessible for free at https://mapy.cz/turisticka).
Activities which include insect collection and protected area accessibility are regulated by the 114/1992 Act on the Nature and Landscape protection (accessible here in English), species protection stands under the Gazette no. 395/1992 Sb (accessible here in English).
All species of wildlife (species and populations, not individuals) in the Czech Republic are also protected of destroying or endangering, which could lead to their extinction, degeneration, affect their reproduction ability, and which could destroy their ecosystem or populations. This paragraph does, however, not affect entomological research.
If you need to perform your research on species protected by law in the Czech Republic, you need to apply for a special legislative dispensation. There are no “permits” for protected species collecting (similar to fishing licenses) available, however, you can apply for a dispensation which allows you to conduct activities which are normally forbidden by law.
Where to apply
The application shall be delivered to a competent office institution. If you need to collect protected species outside of National Parks (NP) and Protected Lanscape Areas (CHKO), you have to apply to the regional office (Krajský úřad). In case of mentioned protected areas, the application shall be delivered to the Protected Area Office. You may ask to the Ministry of Environment in case you need information on any other permission.
For collecting in the small-scale protected areas (PR and NPR) outside of CHKO, you need to apply for permit in the regional nature protection office (Krajský úřad, Odbor životního prostředí). For collecting in PRs and NPRs inside of CHKO, and for collecting in the National Parks, you shall apply for permission in the CHKO, NP respectively office.
Guidelines for permit application (based on information from the Nature Protection Agency accessible here in Czech): https://www.ochranaprirody.cz/druhova-ochrana/vykon-statni-spravy-v-druhove-ochrane/
The legislative process of permission for collecting and handling protected species in the Czech Republic is based on the Act No. 500/2004 Sb. The standard process has following steps:
- The Applicant needs to indicate following data in his/her application: (a) Name and Surname and/or Name of the Institution; (b) Address; (c) P.O. box (if different from the Adress); (d) legal form (in cases you apply as a juridical person); Company Identification Number (in cases you apply as a juridical person); Date of Birth (in cases you apply as an individual); Name and Surname of the Company’s/Institution’s Statutory Representative (in cases you apply as a juridical person).
- The application must be addressed to a representative office as mentioned above.
- The application must have a written form; it must be delivered physically or electronically with an authorized electronic signature.
- The Application Proposal must contain following information: (a) which protected species are subjects of the permission; (b) number of specimens needed for the research purpose; (c) exact description of all legislatively forbidden activities the Applicant needs to perform in connection with the protected species; (d) description and justification of the request for the legislative dispensation; (e) time plan; (f) if needed, all other documentation linked with the legislative dispensation’s purposes; (g) specification of all known parties of the administrative procedure (usually municipalities where the activity will be conducted, collaborating institutions can be also included).
- Signature or electronic signature.
The Application should be written in Czech – we have no up-to-date information on how English applications are processed, however, there are usually possibilities for legislatively accurate translations in notary offices.
Applications for collection and research on protected species in National Parks and CHKOs shall be processed through their respective offices. For exact information, you should ask there which specifics are needed for the proposal. The legislative process can be quite long in any case of permit applications, up to one year, however, it can be processed more quickly.