The Solent Dredge Permit Byelaw came into force on the 1st November 2021. The byelaw introduces a single coherent management tool for the purposes of managing the sustainable harvesting of bivalve populations in the Solent prohibiting the use of a dredge by means of a vessel within the Solent unless authorised by a permit. The byelaw its permit conditions set out various mechanisms for managing the fishery including closed seasons, curfews and gear restrictions.
There are two permit categories;
- a Category A Permit for fishing for bivalves (except native oysters) and;
- a Category B Permit to fish for native oysters.
Category A Permits
Category A permits are required in order to fish for any bivalve (except native oyster). For the 2021/22 season (1st of November 2021 – 31st October 2022), only Category A Permits have been issued. Permits have been issued in line with the Solent Dredge Permit Byelaw Access Policy .
The application period for the 2022/23 season will be open from the 1st May 2022. Completed applications should be posted to Southern IFCA, Unit 3, Holes Bay Park, Sterte Avenue West. Poole. Dorset BH15 2AA or e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Cat A Application Form Printable 2022/23 Season
Cat A Application Form Digital 2022/23 Season (Download and click on "Enable editing" to fill)
Category B Permits
Category B Permits are required in order to fish for native oysters. Following the results of the Southern IFCA annual native oyster survey the IFCAs Technical Advisory Committee agreed to close the native oyster beds in the Solent. On this basis, no Category B permits have been issued for the 2021/22 season.
Management and Policy
The Solent Dredge Permit Byelaw includes the ability to vary certain permit conditions. Further clarity on the intention and process behind such management decisions the Authority may take has been included in the Management Intentions Document.
Further work is also being undertaken to consider the developing Solent Scallop Fishery, which requires a Category A permit. The fishery has been under review since November 2019, which has led to the development of the Solent Code of Conduct . On November 4th the Southern Technical Advisory Committee agreed to consider whether measures included in the code of conduct should be incorporated into permit conditions. This led to a consultation with permit holders and relevant stakeholder which concluded on the 8th of December. The results of this will be summarised and be considered by a working group and the Technical Advisory Committee in early 2022.
The fisheries managed by the dredge permit are subject to stock monitoring surveys and research. Details of those surveys and work streams can be found here
The SDPB puts stakeholder engagement to the forefront of the fishery, therefore, following its commencement on the 1st November 2021, the Solent Bivalve Community Forum was established to facilitate engagement with stakeholders, support the process of flexible permit condition management and to discuss the outcomes of the Solent Bivalve Stock Assessments. The first Solent Bivalve Community Forum took place on the 3rd of November 2021 attended by IFCA officers, members of industry and representatives from the Southern IFCA Technical Advisory Committee.
Minutes of the meeting can be found here and a copy of the presentation given can be found here