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Shore Gathering

This page details the regulations that apply to hand gathering activities within the Southern IFCA District, this includes hand gathering clams, cockle, oysters, mussels and periwinkles. 

Guidance Leaflets

Please view the following leaflets that summarise the regulations which apply to shore gathering activities in the Southern IFCA District, including Public Health Regulations and information on workers rights (Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority - GLAA).

Poole Harbour Shellfish Hand Gathering Guidance  - Including BCP Public Health & GLAA Regulations

In Chinese -  Poole Harbour Shellfish Hand Gathering Guidance Leaflet

Southern IFCA Hand Gathering Leaflet - Poole Harbour

Southern IFCA Hand Gathering Leaflet - S'oton Water and The Solent


The following regulations apply to shore gathering fishing methods in the Southern IFCA District:

Southern IFCA Codes of Practice

Southern IFCA Codes of Practice

Bait Digging Code of Practice

The Bait Digging Code of Practice restricts or prohibits bait digging in certain parts of Poole Harbour, in order to protect seagrass and bird-sensitive areas. See the restrictions and prohibitions here .



Minimum Conservation Reference Size Byelaw

A person must not take, retain on board, tranship, land, transport, store, sell, display or offer for sale from a fishery within the District, any fish or shellfish species specified in the schedules which measure less than the minimum conservation reference size specified in the schedule. Any such fish or shellfish must be returned to the sea immediately. 

The Minimum Conservation Reference Sizes listed in the schedules of this Byelaw apply to  all fishery participants , both recreational and commercial, and throughout the supply chain. 

To view the MCRS Byelaw, click here. To read more about the MCRS Byelaw, please see our MCRS Byelaw FAQs here

Prohibition of Gathering (Sea Fisheries Resources) in Seagrass Beds Byelaw

No person shall dig for or take sea fisheries resources from any prohibited area. Some gear types are exempt from this prohibition. View the full byelaw here.

Poole Harbour Shellfish Hand Gathering

From the 1st November to 31st March inclusive, a person must not take from a fishery, shellfish of any kind by hand gathering or with the use of a hand tool, in the defined areas within Poole Harbour. View the byelaw here and maps of the closed areas here .

Periwinkles Byelaw

No person shall take from a fishery any periwinkles between the 15 th May and 15 th September inclusive. No person shall take periwinkles except by hand picking. View the details here .

Oysters Close Season Byelaw

No person shall take oysters from a fishery from 1st March to 31st October in any year, both days inclusive. Oyster cultivation exceptions apply. This applies to Native Oysters only. see full details here.

Temporary Closure of Shellfish Beds Byelaw

Where any shellfish bed is depleted and requires closure to recover, the Committee may establish a temporary shellfish bed closure, wherein no person may take shellfish from the defined shellfish bed. View the details here .

Fishing for Cockles

A person must not take from a fishery a cockle between 1st February and 30th April inclusive. A person must not remove a cockle from a fishery, unless complying with the gear restrictions and minimum size requirements. See the full byelaw here.

Fishing for Oysters, Mussels and Clams Byelaw

Oysters, Mussels and Clams may only be fished for by handpicking or dredging. View the details here .

Scallop Fishing Byelaw 2019

No person may fish for or take any scallop from a fishery before 0700 and after 1900 local time. This does not apply in The Solent, where a person must not fish for or take any scallop from any fishery on any day before 0600 local time or after 1800 local time. Gear restrictions also apply - view the full byelaw here


No person shall remove an oyster (other than Portuguese or Pacific Oysters) that will pass through a circular ring of 70mm diameter or any cultch for young Oysters to grow on.  View further details of the byelaw here.


No person shall remove from a fishery a mussel measuring less than 50mm in length. Mussel cultivation exceptions apply with permission from Southern IFCA. View the details here

Redeposit of Shellfish

Any person who takes shellfish from a fishery within the Southern IFCA district where the removal or possession of it is prohibited, should return the shellfish to the fishery, as near as possible to the place it was taken. View the details here .

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