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Net Fishing Permit 

The Southern IFCA Net Fishing Byelaw  introduces various measures to regulate fishing with nets. 

The Byelaw was developed following the Authority's decision to review and develop regulations for the District's harbours and estuarine waters in order to support the use of these areas as essential fish habitats, to provide protection to migratory salmonids as they transit through these areas, to balance the social and economic benefits of net fishers and to further the Conservation Objectives of Designated Sites.

One of the types of management introduced by the Byelaw are  Net Permit Areas

There are three Net Permit Areas defined under the Byelaw:

  • The Southampton Water Permit Area
  • The River Hamble Permit Area
  • The Christchurch Harbour Permit Area


 A person must not use a net within a Net Permit Area unless:  

  • the use of the net by the person is authorised by a Permit
  • the Permit is carried on the person when the net is in use
  • all conditions attached to the Permit are being complied with

 * Permits are not authorised for Net Prohibition Areas. A person must not use a net within a Net Prohibition Area 

The Byelaw provides for flexible permit conditions to be attached to Net Permits and allows for a cost to be charged for a Net Permit and for the number of Net Permits issued to be limited. 

The Byelaw also contains other provisions which must be adhered to by permit holders, these include:

  • Net Prohibition Areas
  • Net Restriction Areas
  • Marking of Nets . Please click here to view a copy of the Net Fishing Byelaw  Gear Marking Guidance.
  • A definition for a  ring net  and a method for how a ring net must be used
  • The use of a net within a Bass Nursery Area

Please ensure you have read and understand all aspects of the Net Fishing Byelaw, please see the Net Fishing page for more details.

Net Permit Applications

The application period for a Net Permit entitlement, valid for the period 1st December 2023 to 28th February 2025, ran until  11:59pm on Thursday 9th November 2023 and is now closed, the application form and all required additional information must be submitted by this deadline. 
Any applications received after this date will not be considered.

For more information on Net Permits, including access criteria, the application procedure and the appeals process click here to view The Southern IFCA Inshore Netting Review: Process, Tools & Intentions 2021 which accompanies the Net Fishing Byelaw

Net Permit Conditions

The following are the permit conditions associated with each permit:

Monitoring and Control

A Monitoring and Control Plan has been produced to accompany the Byelaw and the associated Net Permits. The management of the Net Permit Areas will be informed by this Plan, ensuring that the Authority are using the best available evidence regarding understandings of interactions between net fishing practices and migratory salmonids within the District's harbours and estuaries. The Plan will be subject to an annual review in line with the Review Procedure detailed in the Byelaw.

The Monitoring and Control Plan can be viewed here.

Salmonid Good Handling Code of Practice

A Code of Practice has been developed which sets out good practice for handling and release of salmonids (Atlantic salmon [ Salmo salar ] or sea trout [ Salmo trutta ]) to minimise the risk of damage or stress to the fish and maximise the post-capture survival rate. When fishing in the Southern IFC District, please observe the points in the CoP in the event that you catch a salmonid in a net.

The Code of Practice can be viewed here.

Supporting Documents

Supporting documents which underpin the Net Fishing Byelaw including environmental assessments, a literature review and an Impact Assessment can be viewed on the Net Fisheries page.

Support for Fishers

A designated Fishing Liaison Officer is in place for the Net Fishing Byelaw, DCO Sam Dell. The FLO will be availabe to answer questions on this Byelaw and any questions on the permitting process. If you wish to engage with the FLO please contact the Southern IFCA Office by email at or by telephone on 01202 721373.      

Byelaw Infographics  

The following documents have been produced to help fishers by providing an outline of the new Net Fishing Byelaw and requirements for gear marking. Please note that the information provided on these infographics is for guidance only, it is the responsibility of the person undertaking the activity to ensure that they are fully aware of all relevant regulations. 

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