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Latest News

Jun '21

Minimum Conservation Reference Sizes – Call for Information

Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) have launched a ‘Call for Information’ in order to gather additional evidence to support and inform our Review of Minimum Conservation Reference Sizes (MCRS) in the Southern IFC District (“the District”).

The Review aims to (1) assess existing MCRS limits, which are currently applicable across the District, and (2), to consider whether there is a need to introduce MCRS’s for additional species, which are not currently subject to a MCRS within the District.

The ‘Call for Information’ is open until 20 th July 2021.

Please visit our ‘ Live Consultations ’ page for more information and to access the online survey.

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Jun '21

Net Fishing Around Piers Code of Practice

Southern IFCA has introduced a new Code of Practice for net fishing around piers. The Net Fishing Around Piers Code of Practice is a non-regulatory approach to prevent the use of fishing nets, except landing and drop nets, from within 200m of nine piers in the Southern IFC District. The piers affected are:

  • Sandown Pier , Sandown, Isle of Wight;
  • Ryde Pier Head , Ryde, Isle of Wight;
  • South Parade Pier , Portsmouth, Hampshire;
  • Yarmouth Pier , Yarmouth, Isle of Wight;
  • Boscombe Pier , Bournemouth, Dorset;
  • Bournemouth Pier , Bournemouth, Dorset;
  • Swanage Pier , Swanage, Dorset;
  • Weymouth Stone Pier , Weymouth, Dorset; and
  • Weymouth Pleasure Pier , Weymouth, Dorset.

These measures aim to balance the different needs of persons engaged in the exploitation of sea fisheries resources in the Southern IFC District, in line with the Authority’s duties under the Marine and Coastal Access Act, 2009. Recreational sea angling is popular activity in the Southern IFC District and the pier locations in this Code of Practice provide important access for participants. Concerns have been raised over the potential for fishing nets, when used near these pier structures, to negatively impact recreational sea angling activity.

This Code of Practice was developed through the Southern IFCA Netting Review as a first alternative to a byelaw as sector representatives from the Recreational Angling Sector Group (RASG) and the South Coast Fisherman’s Council (SCFC) have identified the potential to address the matter through small changes in fishing practice.

This Code of Practice will be reviewed no later than 31 st December 2022. Should the code prove ineffective, Southern IFCA will consider the introduction of regulatory measures.

The Authority will now publicise these new measures amongst the fishing community, we would welcome your support in doing so. A useful poster can be DOWNLOADED HERE. If you would like to report information to the Authority relating to the possible non-compliance of this code you can complete the form on our website (Contact Us : Southern IFCA ( or call 01202 721373. When doing so, please remember to include a description of the fishing gear and vessels.

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May '21

Poole Fishermen plead guilty to Obstruction and Retaining Undersize Shellfish

On 12 th May 2021 at Poole Magistrates Court, brothers Andrew Skinner and Christopher Skinner of Poole pleaded guilty to fishing offences.

As part owner of fishing vessel Sky PE1232, Mr. Andrew Skinner pleaded guilty to charges of retaining a quantity of undersized clams aboard his vessel and to obstructing enforcement officers from the Southern Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authority (Southern IFCA).

As master and part owner of fishing vessel Sky PE1232, Mr. Christopher Skinner pleaded guilty to retaining a quantity of undersized clams.

The court heard how on 12 th December 2019 in Poole Harbour, both brothers were fishing from different vessels. Christopher Skinner, aboard Sky PE1232, returned from a day’s fishing close to the area of his mooring, where he discarded numerous bags of shellfish out of view in shallow water. Soon afterwards, in a slightly different location nearby, Southern IFCA officers saw Andrew Skinner load 9 bags of shellfish into the back of his vehicle.

Warranted officers from the Southern IFCA attended the area to carry out an inspection of Andrew Skinner’s catch and vehicle for compliance with the regulations, but Andrew Skinner prevented the officers from doing so by driving off. The officers made several attempts to stop Mr. Skinner, using hand signals and verbal commands, but Andrew Skinner repeatedly failed to comply with officer instructions. The officers eventually had to take evasive action to avoid being struck by his fast moving vehicle.

Officers remained in the area. As the tide receded, the shellfish previously discarded by Christopher Skinner came into view. In total 9 bags of clams, weighing 332.3kg with an estimated first sale value of between £1329.20 and £1,827.65, were recovered by Southern IFCA officers. The catch was inspected for compliance with the minimum size regulations and an average of 75.9% of the clams were below the minimum conservation reference size of 35mm. Officers returned the seized catch to the harbour alive. Minimum conservation reference sizes are established to ensure the protection of juvenile marine species. They allow individuals to reproduce at least once before they are removed from a fishery.

Andrew Skinner and Christopher Skinner were both fined £400, both ordered to pay £400 towards prosecution costs and both ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £40.

Acting Deputy Chief Officer Sam Dell said, “Obstruction of the Authority’s officers will not be tolerated. The Marine and Coastal Access Act gives officers common enforcement powers to carryout inspections and provides robust legislation to assist officers in regard to this type of misconduct.  Southern IFCA is committed to protecting the fishery to ensure healthy seas, sustainable fisheries and a viable industry. By taking offenders to court we aim to support a sustainable local fishery.”

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May '21

Southern IFCA's New Drone

Southern IFCA have recently been working with heliguy™ to procure a DJI M300 RTK drone for fisheries enforcement, management and research purposes. The DJI M300 RTK drone is fitted with a H20T camera, which has thermal imaging, zoom and wide-angle functions and therefore, will enhance Southern IFCA's enforcement capabilities. The drone will also be utilised for research and conservation, which will feed into current and future management measures.

To read more about Southern IFCA's drone, please see our Drone and ROV page and read the following blog post written by heliguy™ - IFCA USING DJI M300 RTK DRONE FOR UK FISHERIES MANAGEMENT.

May '21

Solent Dredge Permit Applications

APPLICATIONS ARE NOW OPEN for the Solent Dredge Permit Byelaw.

The byelaw comes into force on the 1st November 2021 and prohibits the use of a dredge by a vessel in the Solent, Southampton Water, Portsmouth Harbour and Langstone Harbour, unless authorised by a permit.

For details regarding who can apply and how to submit an application, please visit the Solent Permit Application Page.

Apr '21

Poole fisher pleads guilty to Obstruction and Failure to Comply charges

On 19 th April 2021 at Poole Magistrates Court, Mr. Patrick Hennessy of Poole pleaded guilty to charges of Obstructing and Failing to Comply with an enforcement officer from the Southern Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authority (Southern IFCA).

The court heard how on the night of 12 th January 2020 in Poole Harbour Mr. Hennessy was fishing from an unregistered, unlicenced fishing boat. Mr. Hennessy was intercepted by Southern IFCA officers aboard the Fisheries Patrol Vessel. He was asked by officers to stop, to allow an inspection of his vessel, but he failed to do so. The officers were obstructed in the performance of their officer functions when Mr. Hennessy threw his catch and fishing equipment overboard.

Mr. Hennessy was fined £150 for obstructing enforcement officer Adam Parry and a further £150 for failing to comply with a direction reasonably given by officer Parry. In addition, Mr. Hennessy was ordered to pay £500 towards prosecution costs and a victim surcharge of £32.

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Apr '21

Administration and Permitting Officer

Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority are currently looking for a reliable individual who will undertake administrative tasks which will contribute to the teams’ delivery of sustainable fisheries management within the coastal waters of Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight.

For more information please visit our VACANCIES page.

Mar '21

Southern IFCA’s New Website!

We’ve been working hard over the past few months with our web designers to bring you an easier to use, more informative, secure and mobile friendly website. We’ve launched the website today!

We’ve updated our website in a number of ways to make it easier to navigate, easier to find and access our documents, more informative and more modern. You should now be able to find everything you need to know about us and our work on our website. Here are just a few of the ways we have done this:

If you have any feedback on our new website, good or bad, please feel free to Contact Us .

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Feb '21

Bass fishing 2021

It has been announced that the 2020 rules for bass fishing have been rolled over for 2021 for both recreational and commercial fishing.  The 2020 rules are still set out on the website here:  Bass Fishing Guidance 2020.

The following statement is from the website:

"The current Bass Measures 2020 as per Article 10 of  Council Regulation 2020/123  will carry over on 1 January 2021. Landings limits in 2021 will provisionally stay the same until further notice into the new year, once annual negotiations for 2021 have been completed, and any implementation steps to be taken at UK level to take any changes into account have taken place. Current bass authorisations continue to be valid, please continue to refer to the Gov Bass Fishing Guidance 2020. "

Please note that the National Lockdown rules may prohibit certain leisure activities. Be sure to check the national and local lockdown rules to ensure that recreational sea angling is allowed before going fishing.

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Dec '20

Fishing vessel inspections

To ensure that UK trade is supported after the UK leaves the EU the Food Standards Agency has requested that local authorities gain assurance that fishing vessels based in their ports are compliant with current hygiene requirements. For vessels that land into the BCP area this will consist of registration with BCP Council and a simple and limited hygiene inspection.

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council, Food Safety and Port Health officers are registering and inspecting all fishing vessels whose home port is within its area. This will cover Poole and Christchurch.

Priority for inspections will be given to fishing boats that supply buyers / merchants or export direct to the EU. Without registration and inspection after the 1st January 2021, shellfish, crab and lobster etc will not be able to be exported to the EU without being able to provide full traceability for the issuing of health certificates.

Please email to arrange registration and inspection.

Following contact, they will forward a food registration form and a basic checklist to be completed prior to inspection and arrange a time and place to inspection your vessel.

If you land into another local council area – contact your local council for relevant information. However, if you land your catch in an area outside of BCP, but export your catch through a Poole merchant or export business, then you will need to register with us. If you are unsure where to register, contact BCP to discuss.

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Nov '20

Illegal fisher pleads guilty to Common Assault and Failing to Comply with a Fisheries Enforcement Officer

On 6th November 2020, at Poole Magistrates Court, Mr. Ashley Whiffen of Poole pleaded guilty to two counts of Common Assault and to Failing to Comply with an enforcement officer. The charges, stemming from the same incident, were laid by Dorset Police and the Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority.

The court heard how, on the night of 12th January 2020 in Poole Harbour, Mr. Whiffen was fishing from an unregistered, unlicenced fishing boat. When Mr. Whiffen was intercepted by Southern IFCA officers aboard the Fisheries Patrol Vessel he failed to stop to allow an inspection of his vessel and catch. Mr. Whiffen became abusive, hurling handfuls of shellfish at the enforcement officers as they repeatedly directed him to stop his vessel. Two of the enforcement officers sustained minor injuries during the incident.

In relation to the assault on the two officers, Mr. Whiffen was conditionally discharged for 12 months. For failing to comply with the directions of the Southern IFCA officers, Mr. Whiffen was fined £100, ordered to pay £50 towards costs and a victim surcharge of £34.

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Nov '20

Consultation on the Review of Management Measures in the Inshore Pot Fisheries OPEN

Southern IFCA’s Consultation on the Review of Management Measures in the Inshore Pot Fisheries is now open.

The consultation is aimed at supporting the development and appraisal of potential management options within the District’s pot fisheries, to include whelk, crab, lobster and cuttlefish.

The consultation will run for a period of 10 weeks from the  6 th November 2020 until the 15 th January 2021

Respond now using the online questionnaire:

Please click here to visit our consultations page for more information  and other ways to respond. 

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Nov '20

Solent Scallop Fishery - Call for Information

Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) is seeking information on the Solent scallop fishery in order to support the sustainability of this fishery. In response to recent interest from the local fishing community we are aiming to better understand the fishery and consider whether additional management is necessary. 
Please click here to visit our consultations page for more information

Oct '20

Southern IFCA update to Privacy Notices

The Authority has updated its privacy notices to reflect the implementation of a Data Sharing Agreement with the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).

The Authority and MMO regularly share data to inform decision making and make the best use of evidence using freedom of information requests.  The data sharing agreement sets out how The Authority and MMO will more routinely share data with the MMO whilst ensuring the rights and freedoms of the data subjects.

The types of data being shared are contact details, fishing activity data and criminal activity data. 

The Authority has also implemented an updated data security policy to ensure that your data us used safely and in accordance with the law.  The data security policy can be found Data Security Policy

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Oct '20

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is looking to recruit several members to the Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA). 

Each IFCA needs members who will take a balanced approach to caring for our seas, assessing the priority and importance of all users and stakeholders. The Southern IFCA is seeking proactive individuals with good communication skills and a demonstrable ability to disseminate IFCA regulations, policies and guidance through their network of contacts to serve as a member.

Andrew Wareing, Director of Digital and Analysis at MMO, reponsible for IFCA selection, said:

"These are exciting opportunities for people with experience and a passion for their inshore marine area to play a major part in shaping how their local area is managed. If you want to make a positive difference and help balance economic, social and environmental needs, we would be pleased to hear from you."

MMO invite applications from all industry sectors, however we would particularly welcome applicants from the recreational fishing and scientific sector.

The deadline for applications is 23:55 on Sunday 15th November 2020. Interviews will take place remotely on 25th November 2020. 

The role is on a voluntary basis although relevant expenses may be reimbursed. 

You can email or for more information.


There are 10 IFCAs around the English coastline and they are responsible for sustainably managing sea fisheries and conservation within 6 nautical miles from shore. They have the power to make byelaws to protect resources and the environment in their area as well as also enforcing national and European fisheries legislation.

IFCAs are either committees or joint committees of the local authorities that fall within an IFC district. They are tasked with sustainably managing inshore sea fisheries and conserving their local marine environment. They are made up of representatives from local councils along with people from across the different sectors that use or are knowledgeable about the inshore marine area, such as commercial and recreational fishermen, environmental groups and marine researchers, who offer their time voluntarily.

The Marine Management Organisation, Environment Agency and Natural England also each has a statutory seat on the IFCA. Through their local management and funding structures, IFCAs help put local councils, communities and businesses, and individual citizens in the driving seat, allowing them to play a bigger part in the protection and enhancement of their inshore marine environment. 

The MMO is responsible for appointing local people with relevant expertise to IFCA committees. Appointees make up roughly half of IFCA committees and are appointed on a voluntary basis. 

The members of the IFCA contribute their knowledge and expertise to provide sustainable management of the inshore marine area of their IFCA district. They guide the iFCA to deliver its mandate under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 and in line with Defra guidance. 

We seek to achieve a balanced membership across various interest groups, including those with commercial, recreational and environmental interests. We are also keen to appoint people who represent the economic, social and environmental needs of their IFCA district and who, collectively, bring a variety of relevant interests such as fishing groups (commercial and non-commercial), conservation groups and other parties interested in the work of IFCAs.

Each appointment is made for a period of 3 to 5 years, with the possibility of reappointment up to a maximum of 10 years. It is conditional upon the member following terms and conditions (PDF, 210KB, 3 pages) for the appointment. Appointments are made in line with the Governance Code on Public Appointments and guidance issued by Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (PDF, 232KB, 9 pages). Appointees must follow relevant IFCA codes of conduct as well as abiding by the terms and conditions of appointment.

1. Application Form (PDF)
2. Information for Candidates (January 2020)

More information on the work of the IFCAs is available from the Association of IFCAs website and from here on the Southern IFCA website. 

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Oct '20

Hefty fines and forfeiture of fishing gear for visiting illegal net fishers in Southampton Water’s Bass Nursery Area

On 19 th October 2020, in the Southampton Magistrates Court, two men pleaded guilty to seven separate fisheries charges, including; taking a quantity of bass below the minimum size, removing bass from a Bass Nursery Area, deliberately fishing for bass using fixed gillnets and using a vessel not registered with the Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) to take sea fish for sale from within the IFCA District.

The court heard how, in the early hours of the 17 th October 2019, fisheries officers intercepted the Plymouth-based fishing vessel Top Dog, numbered PH5580 at the mouth of the River Itchen in Southampton Water. IFCA officers boarded the visiting fishing vessel, owned by Mr Dean Rollason, and located a number of undersized bass.   The master of the vessel at the time, Mr Shane Barton – a repeating offender, was interviewed under caution and then escorted to a slipway where he left the scene with the vessel in tow.

Following further searches of the area, IFCA officers located a substantial net, marked by a small surface float. The net was in excess of 750metres long, in 13 sections and ran along Weston shoreline, into the River Itchen. Officers immediately hauled the net and were able to return a total of 50 grey mullet, 30 bass, 10 flounder, 5 plaice, 20 dogfish and 5 smooth hounds to the water alive. Further fish were removed from the net, totaling a combined estimated value of £1340. Evidence was later gathered that linked the fishing vessel Top Dog with the unattended illegally-set net. 

Commenting on the case, Ian Jones, Chief Officer of Southern IFCA said, “Bass are a highly prized sea fish, valuable to the local recreational and commercial fishery. The Southampton Water Bass Nursery Area is an important refuge for juvenile fish and legislation is in place to protect stocks. Southern IFCA is committed to the protection of our fish stocks and coastal fisheries. Bass nursery areas legislation allow bass to grow and in turn replenish the seriously depleted stocks. It is very pleasing that this intervention resulted in a substantial quantity of bass, mullet and other species from the net returned to the water alive. The Authority takes the illegal use of nets very seriously. There is a legal net fishery in Southampton Water, however this case highlights the impact that an illegally set net can have on that legitimate fishery. The Authority is grateful for witnesses from the local fishing community and to Associated British Ports, Southampton, and to Dorset Police, who assisted with this prosecution.”

The District Judge ordered Mr Barton and Mr Rollason both of Plymouth, Devon, to pay fines and costs of £4,800 and ordered forfeiture of their fishing net, worth an estimated £1,900.

Further protection for bass has been introduced in recent years. Anyone fishing for bass is advised to check the bass fishing guidance and the local regulations for bass nursery areas.

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Oct '20

National Lead Trainng Officer

Kent and Essex IFCA are administering the recruitment of this post for the Assoiciation of Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (AIFCA) role which is home based with travel around England. Please see the details on their website

Oct '20
October 2020

Temporary Closure of Shellfish Beds Byelaw

Southern IFCA Members decided at the September Authority meeting to apply the Temporary Closure Byelaw to all native oyster beds in the Solent, Southampton Water and Portsmouth and Langstone Harbour for the forthcoming 2020/2021 season. Further details can be found here.

Sep '20

New Chief Executive

Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) welcomes a new Chief Executive at the helm of the organisation from September.

Southern IFCA, the organisation responsible for management of inshore fisheries along the coast of Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight will be led by Ian Jones who joins the Authority with a wealth of fisheries management experience from both the UK and Australia.

Having previously served as Deputy Chief Officer and latterly as the National Lead Training Officer for the Association of IFCAs, Ian is very familiar with the task ahead and the complexities of managing fisheries and conservation issues.

Commenting on his appointment, "I am very excited about serving the coastal communities of Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight. The inshore waters of this coastline are some of the most diverse and important in the country and coastal fishing is a significant part of what makes this area special. I really look forward to working in partnership with the local fishing communities and balancing the needs of the different interests and delivering world class fisheries management in our seas."

Prof John Humphreys Chairman of the Authority said "Ian's appointment will build upon the significant progress we have made in improving coastal fisheries and delivering the conservation in our unique coastal areas. Ian has a strong background in community involvement and I, as well as the members of the Authority, look forward to working with him in his new role."

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Jun '20

Minimum Conservation Reference Size Byelaw - Formal Consultation

Notice is hereby given that pursuant to sections 155 and 156 of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 , Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority intends to apply to the Minister for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for the confirmation of the following byelaw:

Minimum Conservation Reference Size Byelaw

The byelaw prevents the removal of fish and shellfish species below a certain size by all fishers to manage the sustainable exploitation of sea fisheries resources in the Southern IFC District.

Upon confirmation of this byelaw the Minimum Fish Sizes legacy byelaw, the Skates and Rays - Minimum Size legacy byelaw, the American Hard-shelled Clams - Minimum Size legacy byelaw and the Grey Mullet - Minimum Size legacy byelaw will be revoked.

A full text of the above-named Byelaw and Impact Assessment can be inspected at the links provided or obtained from Southern IFCA.

Any person wishing to object to the confirmation of the above-named byelaw must send a statement of objection in writing to:

Marine Conservation and Enforcement Team, Marine Management Organisation, Lancaster House, Hampshire Court, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE4 7YH (or ) and must send a copy of this statement to the CEO at Southern IFCA, Unit 3, Holes Bay Park, Sterte Avenue West, Poole, Dorset BH15 2AA (or ).
Objections must be received no later than the 24th July 2020 .

Please click here to view the Minimum Conservation Reference Size Byelaw Frequently Asked Questions Document

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May '20

Consultation on the Poole Harbour Several Order 2015 Management Plan (2020 Revision)

The consultation on the Poole Harbour Several Order 2015 Management Plan (2020 Revision) (‘Management Plan’) is now open. During the period 8 th May 2020 to the 29 th May 2020 you are invited to submit any specific objections to the proposals contained within the Management Plan in writing to either:

  • Southern IFCA, Unit 3 Holes Bay Park, Sterte Avenue West, Poole, BH15 2AA

The cover letter provides a concise summary of the proposed changes to the Management Plan.

The outcomes of the formal consultation will be presented to The Authority on the 11 th June 2020 in order to take account of any representations received in writing from any interested party on the Management Plan and any proposed changes to it.

Under the current Government restrictions (COVID-19), the consultation is being carried out remotely via advertisement on the Southern IFCA website, social media platforms and in addition via email distribution in order to capture any interested parties. Given the current Government restrictions, may I ask that you circulate the Management Plan and accompanying cover letter to any person(s) that you consider may be affected by the Management Plan or the changes contained within .

I thank you in advance for helping Southern IFCA to engage with all interested parties, as far and wide as possible during these unprecedented times.

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