Pot & Trap Fisheries
Pot and trap fishing have been a key part of the South Coast’s history for generations. In the Southern IFCA District we have more than 220 fishers who use pots or traps commercially in the District. The largest pot fishery targets whelks, a marine mollusc, and uses small, often round, baited whelk pots. Whelks are targeted mostly in the first half of the year from January to June. Larger D shaped parlour pots are used to target brown/edible crab, and/or european lobster. Edible crab are targeted all year around, whilst lobsters are caught mainly over summer. In the spring from April to June some fishers also target cuttlefish using cuttlefish traps. These are large and round, with fingered entrances.
In 2019 more than 1420 tonnes of Whelk were caught in the district at a value of £1.8 million. 343 tonnes of brown crab, 145 tonnes of cuttlefish and 54 tonnes of lobster were also caught in the district. The total value of all four species in 2019 was more than £3.9 million.
Whelk fishing occurs mainly in sandy bays such as Poole Bay and Lyme Bay. In the past whelks were also fished in the Solent. Crab and lobster fishing occurs over or near to rocky ground. Predominantly this is found in Lyme bay, along the Purbeck Coast, and South of the Isle of Wight. Cuttlefish are caught during their spawning period, because cuttlefish die soon after spawning. Cuttlefish prefer areas near to sediment to spawn but need substrate such as rocks to attach their eggs to. Most of the District’s cuttlefish fishing occurs within the Solent.