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Bottom Towed Fisheries

Bottom Towed fishing gear is used throughout the Southern IFC District in the coastal waters of Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Bottom towed fishing gear includes scallop, mussel, oyster and clam dredges, trawl nets and bait draggers. However, there are many areas all over the District in which all Bottom Towed Gears are prohibited in order to protect sensitive marine habitats. For more information about the location of these area’s see the Bottom Towed Gear Regualtions Page, or for more inforamtion regarding why these areas are protected see the relevant Conservation Page. 

In Dorset, scallop dredgers collect king scallops from seabed sediment habitats largely in Lyme Bay. Bottom trawls (light otter trawls and beam trawls) are used to target a variety of fish species including cuttlefish, sole, plaice, squid, skate and rays throughout Lyme, Weymouth and Poole Bay and in the Solent.

In 2019, more than 370 tonnes 1 of fish were caught in the Southern IFC District using bottom trawls.

In addition dredge fishing for shellfish such as clams, cockles and scallops occurs in Poole Harbour and the Solent. However in these areas dredge fishing can only be carried out under the Authority of a permit. For more information on these activites visit the Solent Dredge Fisheries Page and the Poole Harbour fisheries Page.

1 Data reported from UK Fisheries Statistics 2019

Credit: Georgie Bull

Fishery Monitoring and Stock Assessments

CEFAS complete regular monitoring of fish stocks in UK waters.  Southern IFCA does not monitor the stocks of demersal and pelagic fish stocks at present. 

However, twice annually the Authority monitors juvenile fish species found inside estuary fish nursery areas. These surveys often find juvenile specimens of the fish species targeted by trawlers. For the results of these surveys please see below:

Marine Protected Area Assessments

Southern IFCA has a duty to undertake assessments of existing and potential commercial fishing activities within Marine Protected Areas throughout the District. The purpose of the assessments is to determine, whether or not in the view of Southern IFCA, the activities will hinder the achievement of the conservation objectives of the relevant Marine Protected Areas. If this assessment finds that the activity could hinder the site from achieving its conservation objectives, Southern IFCA must create appropriate management measures to mitigate the risks.

As of 2020, Southern IFCA has been required to introduce a number of management measures as a result of the following assessments. Please note that some of these assessments are recent and therefore Southern IFCA is currently undergoing the process of introducing the required management measures. 

For more information on the Management Measures introduced to date please see the Bottom Towed Gears Management Page.

Credit: Guy Mitchell

Credit: Georgie Bull

Credit: Georgie Bull

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