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Latest News

Jan '22

Southern IFCA's New Byelaw Booklet

We are excited to launch our new, interactive Southern IFCA Byelaw Booklet. Southern IFCA have been working with a graphic designer to create a new, user-friendly and easy-to-navigate Byelaw Booklet for industry. The new booklet is interactive, meaning you can navigate between the Contents page and each Byelaw with a single click! 

All the Southern IFCA Byelaws currently in force are detailed in the Byelaw Booklet. However, please note that the Byelaw Booklet is not a definitive statement of current regulations. All our original byelaws are held at the Authority’s office and copies are available on request.

Please also note that only the Southern IFCA Byelaws are detailed in the Byelaw Booklet. In addition to these byelaws, there are a number of other pieces of legislation, such as UK Orders and Southern IFCA Codes of Practice that apply within the Southern IFCA District. Please see the relevant Regulations web pages for more information. 

To view our new Byelaw Booklet, please click here. 
Jan '22

Become a Member of the Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA)

The MMO is seeking to fill existing vacancies and create a reserve list for upcoming vacancies on the Authority and welcomes applications from all sectors but particularly from people with a background in commercial fishing or recreational angling and with a good knowledge of the Southern IFCA area. For more information about the role and how to apply please visit Exciting opportunity to manage inshore fisheries and conservation (IFCA) - GOV.UK (

Applications close on the 24th January 2022.

Dec '21

Net Fishing Byelaw - Formal Consultation

Southern IFCA has opened a period of formal consultation for its Net Fishing Byelaw.  Any responses must be received no later than the 4 th February 2022.

The purpose of the Net Fishing Byelaw is to manage fishing with nets for sea fisheries resources in the Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation District in line with the Authority’s duties under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, The Conservation of Habitats and Species (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 and The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

The byelaw introduces Net Prohibition Areas, Net Restriction Areas and Net Permit Areas. Net fishing will be prohibited in Net Prohibition Areas. Net fishing within Net Restriction Areas will be subject to seasonal and/or gear restrictions and net fishing within Net Permit Areas will be managed under flexible permit conditions, subject to the review procedure set out in the byelaw.

The byelaw ensures that all nets used in the District must be marked at each end by a marker buoy that clearly identifies the vessel using that net. The byelaw details both ‘Exceptions’ and ‘Dispensations’ for certain lawful activities.

The management of the Net Permit Areas will be informed by a Net Fishing Monitoring and Control Plan to ensure that the Authority is using the best available to ensure that the ongoing management of the District’s net fisheries remain compatible with the Conservation Objectives set (specific to Altantic salmon, Salmo salar ) for relevant SACs and where Atlantic salmon and/or sea trout ( Salmo trutta ) are a notified feature or component of a SSSI.

For details of the full byelaw, supporting documents and how to respond to the consultation please see the LIVE Consultations page.   The consultation closes on   3 rd  February 2022.

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Dec '21

Recreational Angling Sector Group - Register Your Interest

The Southern IFCA Recreational Angling Sector Group was formed in 2015 and contributes towards Southern IFCA fulfilling the aims of its angling strategy. The group is made up of local anglers or charter skippers with experience within the Southern IFCA district. The aims of the group are to:

- Provide a forum to discuss fisheries management topics relevant to the local sea angling sector
- Develop more effective communication between the sea angling sector and the bodies responsible for management
- Assist in the development of local sea angling strategies
- Comment and provide input into proposed local fisheries management
- Promote sea angling to the local community
- Promote data sharing between the local anglers and the relevant management bodies

The group is currently trying to improve its membership distribution across the district and is particularly interested in hearing from individuals who may wish to join from the West Dorset or Hampshire areas. Meetings of the group are held roughly every quarter and currently take place on a weekday evening via MS Teams.

If you are interested in learning more about the group or would like to apply to join please get in contact with Patrick Cooper –

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Nov '21

NOW CLOSED: Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Officer - Fisheries Protection Team

Southern IFCA are recruiting for an Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Officer in the Fisheries Protection Team . Closing date 5th January 2022 (1700 hrs). Please click to visit the Vacancies page for more details.

Nov '21

Solent Scallop Update - Consultation Now CLOSED

Following the Technical Advisory Committee meeting held on the 4th Novemebr 2021, Southern IFCA has the following updates relating to the Solent Scallop Fishery:

  • A consultation is currently live, considering the next steps in the Solent Scallop Fishery Review. Currently under consultation with permit holders and relevant stakeholders is the Solent Scallop Code of Conduct, and whether the measures contained in the Code should be incorporated into the permit conditions for a Solent Dredge Category A Permit. More details of this consultation can be found on our Live Consultations page .
  • An amendment has been made to the Solent Dredge Permit Byelaw Access Policy, allowing an additional entry route for a Category A Permit in years 1-3 of the fishery, relating to track records in the Solent scallop fishery between January 2019 and March 2021. Applications under this route are live until the 3rd December 2021. Details on this and the Solent Dredge Permit application process can be found here .

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Nov '21

Essential Fish Habitats identified by Small Fish Surveys

Each year Southern IFCA conduct juvenile fish surveys in Spring and Autumn to survey Essential Fish Habitats (EFH) in the District’s estuaries and harbours. These areas provide important nursery areas for juvenile fish whilst other species of fish utilise the habitat for their full life cycle. Working in collaboration with partners such as the Environment Agency, National Trust, Isle of Wight Estuaries Project, local fishers, and academic institutions a seine net is deployed from the shore at each survey site and each specimen caught is identified, measured, and counted before being returned alive to the sea. This long term data set helps us to understand habitat use by fish species, changes in fish communities over time, ecosystem health. The data has recently been of particular importance in helping to develop evidence packages for the Authority’s Netting Review by providing insights into the value of EFH in the District.

To increase awareness of the IFCA’s fish monitoring program amongst stakeholders and the public a new report format has been developed whereby snapshots of each survey are captured in an easily digestible poster. These posters are then available to partners and the local community of each survey to share through newsletters, notice boards etc. A more comprehensive evaluation of the data will also be captured in a report once both Spring and Autumn surveys have been completed each year.

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Nov '21

Working with Industry to Gather Fisheries Data

The IFCAs management of fisheries within the district is evidence based and relies heavily on the collection of relevant data to inform its decision making. An important part of this is the IFCA’s survey programme, which aims to fill gaps in evidence bases and provide ongoing monitoring of certain stocks. Reports are regularly provided to the authority highlighting the results of these, but this article aims to provide information on the process of working with industry to achieve these goals and gather data

Working with industry has some important benefits:

  • It provides the IFCA with on the ground knowledge and expertise when developing, implementing and interpreting the results of surveys.
  • It provides the fishers with an understanding of the process for collecting data and allows industry to feed into the process at an early stage
  • It can provide officers with key platforms (e.g. chartered vessels/gear) for undertaking evidence gathering

When developing and undertaking surveys therefore officers, where appropriate will:

  • Engage early with fishers to feed into survey design, getting information where appropriate on survey areas, methods, gear and equipment to use
  • Involve fishers in the undertaking of surveys, where necessary inviting participation or chartering vessels to allow for a partnership approach on evidence gathering.
  • Feedback the results to industry at relevant points, providing information on how this is informing management.

The above has been exemplified in this calendar year where surveys including the Poole Bivalve survey, fish monitoring net surveys, Solent native oyster survey and Solent scallop survey have all involved participation of industry in either the development or undertaking of the survey. The above have fed into management decisions, or ongoing monitoring, therefore contributing towards co-management. 

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Oct '21

CLOSED: Deputy Chief Officer

Southern IFCA are recruiting for senior appointment to the role of Deputy Chief Officer (Fisheries Protection). Closing date 8th November 2021. Please see details on the vacancies page.

Oct '21

Poole Fisherman pleads guilty to Obstruction and Retaining Undersize Shellfish

On 18th October 2021 at Poole Magistrates Court, Reginald John Skinner of Poole pleaded guilty to fishing offences.

As part owner of fishing vessel Sky PE1232, Mr. 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).

The court heard how on 12 th  December 2019, Mr. Skinner’s sons, Andrew & Christopher were fishing from 2 different vessels in Poole Harbour. Aboard fishing vessel Sky PE1232, was Christopher Skinner. Christopher returned from a day’s fishing to the area of his mooring, where he jettisoned numerous bags of shellfish close by and out of view in shallow water. As the tide receded, these and another quantity of bags of shellfish, situated further up the foreshore, came into view.

Warranted officers from the Southern IFCA saw Mr. Reginald Skinner arrive at the location in a vehicle. The bags furthest up the foreshore (9 in total) were lifted into the back of the vehicle before Reginald Skinner returned to the driver’s seat. As he did so Mr. Skinner was hailed by officers who instructed him to stop to allow an inspection of his vehicle and catch of shellfish, but Mr. 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 he repeatedly failed to comply with officer instructions. The officers eventually had to take evasive action to avoid being struck by Mr. Skinner’s fast moving vehicle.

As the tide receded further, the shellfish previously jettisoned from Mr. Skinner’s fishing vessel Sky PE1232 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.

Mr. Reginald Skinner was fined £400 and ordered to pay £400 towards prosecution costs and a victim surcharge of £40. The Southern IFCA cases against Andrew and Christopher Skinner for their involvement in the same incident were heard earlier in the year at Poole Magistrates Court on 12 th May 2021, when they received identical sentences.

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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Oct '21

Green Island Dredge Closure Area Emergency Byelaw

On the 13 th October 2021, the Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority made an emergency byelaw under s157 of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 to ensure that saltmarsh within the Green Island Dredge Closure Area is not damaged, disturbed or allowed to deteriorate as a direct result of dredge fishing incursions within an area which has been managed under The Green Island Saltmarsh Management Area Code of Conduct since 2019. The Authority for the Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation District considers that there is an urgent need for this byelaw due to significant breaches of the Green Island Saltmarsh Management during the 2021 Poole Harbour Dredge Permit season.

Under the Green Island Dredge Closure Area Emergency Byelaw, the following prohibition applies: “ A person on board or by means of a vessel must not use, retain on board, store or transport a dredge within the Green Island Dredge Closure Area   ”. To view the byelaw in full, click here , or to view all regulations relating to bottom towed fishing gears, please click here .

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Sept '21

NOW CLOSED: Finance and Administration Manager (Re-advertised)

Southern IFCA are recruiting for Finance and Administration Manager. Closing date 3rd December 2021. Please see details on the vacancies page.

Sept '21

Six Months of our New Website

It has been six months since our new website went live! The website was an immediate success with twenty-one people completing our feedback form in its first month. The resounding majority loved and were extremely positive about it. Feedback included the comments: 'easy to navigate', 'looks very professional', 'very informative' and 'like the pictures'. A couple of visitors noticed a minor teething error that the minimum sizes were missing so we quickly added this to several pages. 


Behind the scenes the work on the website has continued led by Debbie, IFCO Griffiths and IFCO Smith. Our officers have had to learn how to edit the website. For some pages this is as simple as amending text and replacing images, however for other pages editing requires an understanding of the computer code which programmes how the website looks and works. In some instances, good old-fashioned trial and error have come into play when working out exactly which lines of code are needed to achieve the specific function. For example, the code needed to make our news articles ‘dropdown’ and the settings required to make images adapt to different screen sizes. Of course, if we really get stuck our web developers Toolkit are always happy to help make an edit or teach us how to.


We have fully utilised this exciting resource since it went live posting many news articles, used pages such as ‘Live consultations' for the first time and have uploaded more than eight new pages including:


Continue checking in regualrly with our webiste to keep up to date with the latest information!

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Sept '21

Poole Harbour Bivalve Stock Assessment

Southern IFCA have published the annual bivalve survey results for Poole Harbour. The survey gathered data on the catch per unit effort (CPUE) and size of clams and cockles throughout the Harbour.

CPUE has remained consistent with that seen in 2019 indicating that the clam population remains stable.

See the full survey results on our Fisheries and Research Poole Harbour Fisheries page.

Sept '21

Behind the Scenes with IFCO Cooper

In 2015 Southern IFCA worked with local angling representatives to develop the Recreational Angling Sector Group in line with Southern IFCAs recreational angling strategy. The group is facilitated by the IFCA and I provide the secretariat duties for the group. The group is chaired owned by the anglers making up its membership.

The group has a number of aims, but those identified in the terms of reference are:

- Provide a forum to discuss fisheries management topics relevant to the local sea angling sector.
- Develop more effective communication between the sea angling sector and the bodies responsible for management.
- Assist in the development of local sea angling strategies.

- Comment and provide input into proposed local fisheries management.
- Promote sea angling to the local community.
- Promote data sharing between local anglers and the relevant management bodies.

I have found working with this group particularly interesting and useful. It has formed an important part Southern IFCA’s work to date, most recently feeding into the development of the Piers code of conduct. Having feedback from the group will be vital moving forward, particularly with workstreams such as the MCRS review and Bream MCZ management on the horizon. The access it provides officers to a key stakeholder group is really useful and I hope to continue working closely with members of the group in the future.

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Aug '21

Solent Scallop Fishery Stock Assessment

Southern IFCA have completed the first baseline survey of scallops in the Solent. The survey gathered data on the catch rate and size of king scallops (Pecten maximums) on the Eastern side of the Solent. We found a good number of scallops in the area ranging in size from 5 cm to 14 cm in width.

See the full survey results on the Fisheries and Research Solent Dredge Fisheries page.

Southern IFCA will use this baseline survey data to compare to future survey results. The evidence will be used to inform future management measures for the scallop fishery under our Solent Dredge Permit.

Aug '21

Behind the Scenes with IFCO Birchenough

In 2020 I helped to work on the issuing of leases for the Poole Fishery Order 2015 for the next five-year period (2020-25). During this process, the use of Pacific oysters as an aquaculture species was discussed due to their designation as an Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS). This discussion led to an in depth look at the science behind this species including whether any wild populations were forming as a result of the aquaculture activity.

The Pacific oyster has been present in Poole since 1890 and the Harbour is currently the largest Pacific oyster production area in England. It is an important aquaculture species with a total economic activity value in Poole of over £2 million annually. This is an interesting topic and one which is also at the forefront nationally with Defra poised to issue a position paper on the use of this species in aquaculture in the future.

From our local perspective, we identified that up-to-date scientific data was needed on the occurrence of any wild Pacific oyster population in Poole Harbour. We are now working with the University of Southampton to run a survey to assess the population of wild Pacific oysters in Poole Harbour as part of a Masters project. The aim is to carry out this survey for the first time during the summer of 2021 covering a variety of different shore locations across the Harbour. The data from the survey will be used alongside other relevant data sources, such as indications of levels of natural change in wild Pacific oyster populations, to help inform future reviews of management measures. We will be liaising with Natural England following the initial survey to discuss the results and develop an ongoing survey program and a Monitoring and Control Plan for the fishery.

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Jul '21

Minimum Conservation Reference Size Byelaw

Southern IFCA is pleased to announce the confirmation of the Minimum Conservation Reference Size Byelaw. The byelaw introduces minimum sizes to enable the protection of juvenile fish and shellfish species. These minimum size measures will be applied throughout the commercial supply chain and to recreational fishers. The measures include new minimum sizes for wrasse species, grey mullet species and crawfish. The byelaw is now in force throughout the Southern IFC District. 

Additional information on the byelaw can be found in our MCRS Byelaw Frequently Asked Questions and on our Minimum Sizes Regulations page.

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