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Diving & Spearfishing

The following regulations may apply to Diving and Spearfishing in the Southern IFCA District:



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, click here . To read more about the MCRS Byelaw, please see our  MCRS Byelaw FAQs 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 .

Prohibition of Gathering (Sea Fisheries Resources) in Seagrass Beds Byelaw

No person shall dig for or take sea fisheries resources from any prohibited area. Some gear types are exempt from this prohibition. View the full byelaw here .

Poole Harbour Shellfish Hand Gathering

From the 1st November to 31st March inclusive, a person must not take from a fishery, shellfish of any kind by hand gathering or with the use of a hand tool, in the defined areas within Poole Harbour. View the byelaw here  and  maps of the closed areas here .

Periwinkles Byelaw

No person shall take from a fishery any periwinkles between the 15 th May and 15 th September inclusive. No person shall take periwinkles except by hand picking. View the details here .

Oysters Close Season Byelaw

No person shall take oysters from a fishery from 1st March to 31st 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 .

Scallop Fishing Byelaw 2019

No person may fish for or take any scallop from a fishery before 0700 and after 1900 local time. This does not apply in The Solent, where a person must not fish for or take any scallop from any fishery on any day before 0600 local time or after 1800 local time. Gear restrictions also apply - view the full byelaw here

Electric Current Byelaw

No person shall take or kill any sea fish by the discharge of electric current. See 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

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 .

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

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