Tel: 01202 721 373

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a permit?

Southern IFCA issues permits for commercial fishing only. If you are fishing recreationally for your own pleasure and consumption you are not required to obtain a permit from Southern IFCA.
All fishers will have to adhere to national and local legislation. Please see the relevant regulations pages for further details.

Recreational fishing

  • Currently, angling and recreational fishing (including using pots) within the Southern IFC District does not require a permit to fish.
  • Although recreational fishers do not require a permit there are several regulations that they must follow in Southern IFC District. Regulations may apply to particular gear types, specific areas or species for example closed areas, minimum sizes, gear restrictions, etc..
  • To find out which regulations apply to you, please see the appropriate page for your method of fishing under our Regulations section.
  • Further information on angling can be obtained from the Angling Trust.

Commercial fishing

Southern IFCA Permits:

  1. Poole Harbour Dredge Permit - No permits available
  2. Solent Dredge Permit - Applications Closed
  3. Fishing For Sale Permit (Download S1 Application form)
Commercial fishing from an unpowered vessel or from the beach:
Southern IFCA does not issue permits for this activity. You will have to be aware of and adhere to the Buyers and Sellers of first-sale fish - GOV.UK legislation. Further details can be obtained from the Marine Management Organisation: poole@marinemanagement.org.uk / portsmouth@marinemanagment.org.uk / hastings@marinemanagement.org.uk

How do I get a permit?

Southern IFCA issue permits for licenced commercial fishers. A permit is not required to fish recreationally.

Any commercial fishing vessel fishing in Southern IFC District is required to have a permit to Fish for Sale. Please click here to download an Application Form for a Fish for Sale Permit. Send the completed application form to enquiries@southern-ifca.gov.uk.

Permits are also available for specific fisheries within the District:

Poole Harbour Dredge Permit Fishery – No permits available - wait list currently full.
Solent Dredge Permit Fishery - Applications are now closed

How do I report suspicious fishing activity? Is the fishing activity that I’ve seen illegal?

If you have witnessed an incident or fishing activity that you believe may be in breach of fishing regulations, you can report it to us by enquiry form, phone or email, on our Contact Us page. If you are unsure whether the activity is illegal or not, we would recommend still contacting us to make sure. If the activity isn’t illegal, it may still be useful and provide us with information about fishing activity. We encourage people to submit information about suspicious activity, as much of our work is intelligence-led and therefore the information submitted can be vital in assisting our officers with the detection of offences.

In addition to fisheries offences, you may wish to report other issues to a number of other organisations that we work in partnership with:

Which fishing regulations apply to me?

There are several regulations that apply to recreational, commercial or both fishers in the Southern IFC District. Regulations may apply to certain gear types, whereas others apply to specific areas or species. Although recreational fishers fishing for leisure or their own consumption are not currently required to obtain a permit to fish, they must follow Southern IFCA Byelaws regarding closed areas, minimum sizes, gear restrictions, etc..

To find out which regulations apply to you please see the following links, or view all our regulations here.

What happens when illegal fishers/offenders are caught?

Southern IFCA follow a series of enforcement actions under the Compliance and Enforcement Framework when dealing with fisheries offences. The Compliance and Enforcement Framework outlines the enforcement actions that are taken against offences, ranging from Advisory Letters and Official Written Warnings for less serious infringements, to Financial Administrative Penalties and Prosecutions for more serious infringements. Please see the Compliance and Enforcement Outcomes page to view the Compliance and Enforcement Framework and Southern IFCA’s approach to fisheries enforcement.

How do I submit catch returns?

Catch returns can be submitted by post (Unit 3, Holes Bay Park, Sterte Avenue West, Poole, BH15 2AA) or email (enquiries@southern-ifca.gov.uk). They need to be fully completed to be accepted. Each permitted fishery has its own submission dates. You can find the relevant forms and dates by following the links below:

Poole Harbour Dredge Permit fishery
Solent Dredge Permit Fishery

How can I be involved with management measures?

Southern IFCA consult with the community when developing new fisheries management measures, in order to better understand the fishery and achieve a balance between the needs of the community and the environment. During the byelaw making process there are typically three or more periods of community consultation which provide stakeholders the oportunity to express their opinions, knowledge of a fishery and how  contribute to the development of fisheries management. Current Southern IFCA consultations can be found here: Live Consultations. To view the outcomes of previous consulatations and ongoing fisheries management reviews see the Ongoing Reviews page. 

Where can I buy locally sourced fish?

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) champion sustainable seafood (MSC certified sustainable fish products | Marine Stewardship Council). Other helpful sites which direct you to local fish shops, merchants and fishers can be found below:

How do I report Ghost or Lost Fishing Gear?

What is Ghost Fishing Gear? - Ghost Fishing Gear is any fishing gear that has been abandoned, discarded or lost at sea. Ghost Fishing Gear often goes unseen and is a threat to wildlife and to water users. 

You can read about the requirements of marking fishing gear and what to do in the instance of lost gear here: Marking of fishing gear, retrieval and notification of lost gear - GOV.UK

If you work in the fishing industry, you can report lost fishing gear anonymously on the GhostFishing UK Website here: Fishing Community Lost Fishing Gear Reporting - GhostFishing UK. Contact GhostFishing UK if you would like your gear back. 

Members of the public can report lost/ghost fishing gear here: Sightings of Ghost Fishing Gear.

If you have a question that has not been answered above or elsewhere on the website, please contact us.

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