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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 information regarding why these areas are protected see the relevant Conservation Page. 

In Dorset's Lyme Bay and, the East Solent, scallop dredgers collect king scallops from seabed sediment habitats using dredges. Dredges are also used to collect clams and cockles in Poole Harbour and Southampton Water. A Southern IFCA permit is required to use a dredge in either Poole Harbour, Southampton Water or the Solent. For more information on these activites visit the Solent Dredge Fisheries Page and the Poole Harbour fisheries Page.

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 Bay, Weymouth Bay, Poole Bay and in the Solent.

In 2021, more than 1,114 tonnes1 of fish and shellfish were caught in ICES Rectangles 29E7, 30E7 and 30E8 using bottom trawls and dredges. This total is dominated by mussels (380), scallops (253) and manila clams (240). Mussels are harvested in Dorset as mussel seed (juvenilles) and then relayed on the seabed to grow on to reach market size. The largest amount of fish in this total is Plaice at 40 tonnes.  

1 Data recieved from the Marine Managment Organisation, 2022. ICES Rectangles 29E7, 30E7 and 30E8 cover the majority of the Southern IFC District and some areas outside. 

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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