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Bottom Towed Gears

The following Southern IFCA Byelaws and Codes of Practice apply to fishers who use bottom towed fishing gear in the Southern IFCA district. This includes, but is not limited to, scallop dredging, clam dredging, suction dredging and trawling. In addition to Southern IFCA regulations, bottom towed gears are also subject to a number of other pieces of legislation as detailed below. 

Southern IFCA Codes of Practice

Southern IFCA Codes of Practice

Roosting Poole Harbour Code of Practice

To prevent breeding and roosting species of birds in Poole Harbour from being disturbed, there are a number of guidelines that should be followed; see the full Roosting Code of Practice here.

Bait Digging Code of Practice

Under this Code of Practice, bait digging is prohibited or restricted in certain parts of Poole Harbour, in order to protect seagrass and/or bird-sensitive areas. See these restrictions and prohibitions here.

Solent Scallop Fishery Code of Practice

In order to promote a sustainable scallop fishery, fishing for scallops should not take place between 1st April and 31st October 2021. Between 1st November 2021 and 31st March 2022, a maximum of 2 dredges should be used when fishing for scallops. See the full Code of Practice here



Minimum Conservation Reference Size Byelaw

A person must not take, retain on board, tranship, land, transport, store, sell, display or offer for sale from a fishery within the District, any fish or shellfish species specified in the schedules which measure less than the minimum conservation reference size specified in the schedule. Any such fish or shellfish must be returned to the sea immediately. 

The Minimum Conservation Reference Sizes listed in the schedules of this Byelaw apply to  all fishery participants , both recreational and commercial, and throughout the supply chain. 

To view the MCRS byelaw and the MCRS for those species specified in this byelaw, click here , and to view the MCRS Byelaw FAQs , please click here

Vessels Used in Fishing for Sale

No person may use a vessel (other than an open/undecked vessel navigated by oars) to take fish for the purpose of sale, unless they have registered the vessel with the Committee within the previous 24 months. See more details here.

Vessels Used in Fishing

No person may use a vessel which exceeds 12m in length for fishing. Exceptions apply; view the byelaw here.

Bottom Towed Fishing Gear Byelaw 2016

No person shall use any Bottom Towed Fishing Gear within a prohibited area. View the closures and the full BTFG byelaw here.

Solent Dredge Fishing Byelaw 2016

A person must not use, retain on board, store or transport a dredge in Southampton Water, Portsmouth Harbour or Langstone Harbour between 17:00 and 07:00 of the following day from 1st March to 31st October. View the full byelaw and details of the restricted areas here .

Solent Dredge Permit Byelaw

A person must not use a dredge by means of a vessel within any Bivalve Management Area. This prohibition does not apply if the vessel is a Relevant Fishing Vessel and is authorised to use a dredge within a Bivalve Management Area in the Solent in accordance with a Category A or Category B permit and adheres to the relevant permit conditions. Click here to read the Solent Dredge Permit Byelaw.

Poole Harbour Dredge Permit Byelaw

No person shall use, retain on board, transport or store a dredge on board a vessel within Poole Harbour unless they have been issued a Poole Harbour Dredge Permit and are complying with all permit conditions. Please see the following links for more information:

Green Island Dredge Closure Area Emergency Byelaw

An Emergency Byelaw has been introduced to ensure that saltmarsh within the Green Island Dredge Closure Area is not damaged, disturbed or allowed to deteriorate as a direct result of dredge fishing incursions within an area which has been managed under The Green Island Saltmarsh Management Area Code of Conduct since 2019.
From 13th October 2021 until 25th December 2021, the following prohibition applies: A person on board or by means of a vessel must not use, retain on board, store or transport a dredge within the Green Island Dredge Closure Area. View the byelaw here.

Oysters Close Season Byelaw

No person shall take oysters from a fishery from 1 st March to 31 st October in any year, both days inclusive. Oyster cultivation exceptions apply; see full details here.

Temporary Closure of Shellfish Beds Byelaw

Where any shellfish bed is depleted and requires closure to recover, the Committee may establish a temporary shellfish bed closure, wherein no person may take shellfish from the defined shellfish bed. View the details here.

Fishing for Cockles

A person must not take from a fishery a cockle between 1st February and 30th April inclusive. A person must not remove a cockle from a fishery, unless complying with the gear restrictions and minimum size requirements. See the full byelaw here .

Fishing for Oysters, Mussels and Clams Byelaw

Oysters, Mussels and Clams may only be fished for by handpicking or dredging. View the details here.

Oyster Dredges Byelaw

When dredging for Oysters, a number of gear restrictions apply. View the details here.

Scallop Fishing Byelaw

When dredging for Scallops, there are a number of gear restrictions that apply. No person may fish for or take any scallop from a fishery before 0700 and after 1900 local time. View the details here.


No person shall remove an oyster that will pass through a circular ring of 70mm diameter or any cultch for young Oysters to grow on. View further details of the byelaw here.


No person shall remove from a fishery a mussel measuring less than 50mm in length. Mussel cultivation exceptions apply with permission from Southern IFCA; view the details here.

Prohibition of Berried Lobsters

No person shall remove from the fishery any berried (egg-bearing) lobsters. View full details here.

Redeposit of Shellfish

Any person who takes shellfish from a fishery within the Southern IFCA district where the removal or possession of it is prohibited, should return the shellfish to the fishery, as near as possible to the place it was taken. View the details here.

Fishing Under Mechanical Power Byelaw

No person shall use a trawl net between 1st May and 31st August in the specified area along Chesil Beach.  View the prohibited area and details here.



The Scallop Fishing (England) Order 2012

Scallop fishers must adhere to catch composition and dredging equipment requirements. See the full details of this statutory instrument here .

The Solent European Marine Site (Prohibition of Method of Dredging) Order 2004

No fishing boat shall deploy a dredge which is used in conjunction with water injection (also known as ‘pump scoop’) in the Solent European Marine Site. No fishing boat shall carry a dredge which is used in conjunction with water injection in any part of the Solent European Marine Site unless the dredge is inboard, secured and stowed. See full details here.

The Lyme Bay Designated Area (Fishing Restrictions) (Amendment) Order 2009

Dredging for shellfish and demersal trawling in the designated area are prohibited. For full details and area coordinates see details here & amendment here.

Council Regulation (EU) 2019/1241

Council Regulation (EU) 2019/1241

Regulation 2019/1241  specifies the Technical Conservation Measures that Union fishing vessels must follow. Please click here to view Article 13 of 2019/1241 , which details the Minimum Conservation Reference Sizes (MCRS) of marine species that apply to commercial fishing vessels.

To view all the minimum sizes that apply within the Southern IFCA District, including those detailed in the above Byelaws and Council Regulation (EU) 2019/1241, please download our  Southern IFCA Wheelhouse Card  or view all our Minimum Sizes Regulations here

Bass Measures – Council Regulation (EU) 2020/123

Bass Measures – Council Regulation (EU) 2020/123

The 2020 rules for recreational bass fishing have been rolled over for 2021 for both recreational and commercial fishing. Article 10 of Council Regulation (EU) 2020/123  details the restrictions for catching European Seabass, both commercially and recreationally. Commercial vessels are subject to minimum size, gear and catch quantity restrictions. Recreational fishers may only retain 2 bass - of at least the minimum conservation reference size of 42cm length - per person, per day. Bass may only be retained by recreational fishers between 1st March – 30th November 2021.

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