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, gear restrictions and catch returns.
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 to 30th September 2022 - Application period is now closed
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.
Permit holders must submit a catch return for each month of the fishing season. Catch returns must be submitted no later than the 14th day of the following month. They can be submitted as hard copy or electronic copy to Unit 3, Holes Bay Park Sterte Avenue West, Poole, BH15 2AA or firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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