Compliance and Enforcement

This section contains plans, codes of conduct and our risk based approach to compliance that will assist us in leading, championing and managing a sustainable marine environment and inshore fisheries.


To achieve optimal compliance with fisheries regulations that underpins the sustainable utilisation of our fisheries in the Southern District by:
  • Encouraging fishers to voluntarily comply with fisheries laws and;
  • Ensuring that there is an effective deterrent against non-compliance.

Reporting Suspicious Activity

Southern IFCA (SIFCA) utilises a risk based approach to prioritise its compliance and enforcement activities and intelligence that is collated from a variety of sources that reflect current issues ‘on the ground’ that together maximise the efficient use of resources and help to reduce crime.

As the additional ‘eyes and ears’ of law enforcement, you can report suspected illegal fishing activity within the District by contacting SIFCA on 01202 721373 or by sending an email to enquiries@southern-ifca.gov.uk   Our Fisheries Officers will be pleased to assist with clarification of the rules and follow up on reports of suspicious activity.

Details of the local rules and regulations can be found on our website https://www.southern-ifca.gov.uk/byelaws   Other national regulations also apply, for example, the current bass nursery area legislation that can be found here https://www.southern-ifca.gov.uk/other-regulations

Fishing rules are often complicated and this reflects the differing management needs of the areas to which they apply. For example some forms of netting traditionally take place close to the shore and are perfectly legitimate.

Although we encourage the reporting of illegal activity, members of the public ashore (or in boats) in the interest of safety should not put themselves or others at risk or harass commercial fishermen engaged in fishing and if in doubt give us a call for clarification.   

Maximising voluntary compliance

The greatest way to ensure voluntary compliance is to increase the knowledge and understanding of the rules. The Authority does this by providing
  • Education and advice through brochures, signage, land and sea based patrols, school and fishing club visits
  • Involving stakeholders in development of management rules for fisheries
  • Involving stakeholders in compliance planning
  • Lowering compliance costs
  • Assessment of voluntary compliance
Getting more stakeholders involved in the development of fisheries management rules and delivery of services allows greater understanding, acceptance and compliance with the rules. It also ensures those rules are appropriate to that fishery.

Through our local management and funding structures, the Authority helps to put local authorities, local communities, local businesses and individual citizens in the driving seat, allowing them to play a bigger part in the protection and enhancement of their marine environment.

Ensuring there is an effective deterrent

The greatest way to ensure there is an effective deterrent is to provide incentives for people to comply with the rules. The Authority does this by:
  • Developing fishing management rules that penalise fishers for illegal fishing
  • Effective monitoring and surveillance through land and sea based patrols and targeted operations
  • Warning, fining (through financial administration penalties) and prosecuting offenders

Compliance and Enforcement Framework

The Authority is committed to the attainment of a fair, effective and proportionate enforcement regime. The Compliance and Enforcement Framework sets out the Authority's approach to achieving compliance and enforcement and provides information about the general principles the Authority will follow and our enforcement actions available. The document establishes a framework from which annual risk based enforcement plans may be developed in the form of a Compliance Risk Register.

Download a copy of the Compliance and Enforcement Framework here

Compliance Risk Register

The Compliance Risk Register (The Register) provides focus for enforcement activities and is a keystone document forming part of our Compliance and Enforcement Framework. The Register will identify priorities for enforcement based responses enabling operational plans that will be delivered that make the best use of resources and provide the best possible protection regarding sea fisheries sustainability and the marine environment. The risk based approach reflects the different fishing activities which occur at different times in specific areas within our District, making it easier to identify the priorities for enforcement for each quarter of the year.

Download a copy of the Compliance Risk Register here

Code of Conduct for Inspections

The Authority has set out a Code of Conduct for officers carrying out inspections. The Code also explains the obligations of people being inspected.

Download a copy of the Southern IFCA Code of Conduct for Inspections

Patrols by land and sea monitor compliance with EU, national and local fisheries legislation. Officers routinely conduct landing inspections and inspections at sea as well as premises checks and close liaison with partner agencies.

Financial Administration Penalty

Since 6th April 2012, in the event of any infringements, IFCAs have the option to issue a Financial Administrative Penalty (FAP) as an alternative to a criminal prosecution. A guidance document explaining how the Authority will implement this option has been produced.

Download a copy of the Southern IFCA FAP Guidance Document
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