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Compliance & Enforcement


To achieve optimal compliance with fisheries regulations that underpins the sustainable utilisation of our fisheries in the Southern District by:

  • Encouraging fishers to voluntarily comply with fisheries laws and;
  • Ensuring that there is an effective deterrent against non-compliance.

How do we achieve these objectives?

Maximising voluntary compliance

The greatest way to ensure voluntary compliance is to increase the knowledge and understanding of the rules. The Authority does this by:

  • Providing education and advice through brochures, signage, land and sea-based patrols, school and fishing club visits
  • Involving stakeholders in development of management for fisheries
  • Involving stakeholders in compliance planning
  • Lowering compliance costs
  • Assessment of voluntary compliance

Getting more stakeholders involved in the development of fisheries management and delivery of services allows greater understanding, acceptance and compliance with the rules. It also ensures those rules are appropriate to that fishery.

Through our local management and funding structures, the Authority helps to put local authorities, local communities, local businesses and individual citizens in the driving seat, allowing them to play a bigger part in the protection, management decisions and enhancement of their marine environment.

Ensuring there is an effective deterrent

The greatest way to ensure there is an effective deterrent is to provide incentives for people to comply with the management. The Authority does this by:

  • Developing fishing management that penalise fishers for illegal fishing
  • Effective monitoring and surveillance through land and sea-based patrols and targeted operations
  • Warning, fining (through Financial Administrative Penalties) and prosecuting offenders

Fisheries Protection Patrols

Southern IFCA officers conduct both land and sea-based patrols across the district. Southern IFCA operates three patrol vessels across the District, each designed with different features to suit the area they are located in. Patrols on board these vessels may take place at any time of day or night, and are used to observe fishing activity, engage with industry, carry out boarding inspections and to target reported illegal activity. On shore, Officers conduct land patrols to engage with industry, carry out inspections, observe activity at sea and in ports, visiting a number of locations across the district including commercial premises, recreational angling hotspots, piers, ports, beaches and quaysides.

Operational standards

Southern IFCA operates using a risk-based, intelligence-led approach, following a number of operational standards, to establish appropriate compliance and enforcement procedures and therefore effective fisheries management across the Southern IFC district.

Compliance and Enforcement Framework

Compliance and Enforcement Framework

Southern IFCA is committed to achieving fair, effective and proportionate enforcement. The Framework sets out the Authority's approach to compliance and enforcement and details the general principles the Authority will follow and the enforcement actions available. The Compliance and Enforcement Framework assists the development of annual risk-based enforcement plans (the Compliance Risk Register). View the Compliance and Enforcement Framework.

Risk Register

Risk Register

As part of the Government’s approach to Better Regulation, Southern IFCA adopted a risk-based approach to regulation. The Risk Register forms part of the Compliance and Enforcement Framework, providing focus and priorities for Southern IFCA’s compliance and enforcement activities. The Risk Register identifies enforcement priorities in specific areas at different times of the year, allowing operational plans to be adjusted as necessary, in order to make best use of resources and provide the best possible protection for fisheries and the marine environment. View the Compliance Risk Register.

Code of Conduct

Code of Conduct

Southern IFCA has set out a Code which outlines the responsibilities that officers have and the protocols that they should follow when carrying out inspections. The Code of Conduct also details the obligations of those being inspected. View the Code of Conduct for inspections here.

Body-Worn Camera Policy

Body-Worn Camera Policy

Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Officers follow a Body-Worn Camera policy with procedural guidelines for the use of body-worn video cameras in fisheries enforcement. This policy enables officers to comply with the relevant legislation relating to video recording and follow best practice procedures regarding the security and use of data, images and videos. View the Body Worn Camera Policy.

Southern IFCA Drone

Southern IFCA have recently procured a drone to assist with fisheries enforcement. Drones are Small Unmanned Aircrafts (SUA), within Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) as defined by the Civil Aviation Authority. Drones are typically miniature aircrafts controlled from the ground by a pilot; they can have various camera attachments and have recording capabilities.

The use of drones is seen widely across law enforcement agencies, in the detection of crimes and the evidencing of offences. Drones can be used in dynamic environments, as a fast response to monitor, record and evidence illegal activity that may not otherwise be seen, as well as being used for routine observations and checks. The drone used by Southern IFCA for fisheries enforcement features GPS technology, a thermal imaging camera and zoom camera, which assists the detection and evidencing of offences, with footage being used as evidence in legal proceedings.

The Vessels

Southern IFCA operates three fisheries patrol vessels (FPV) located across the district – two RHIBs (Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boat) and one aluminium vessel. Our vessels have thermal imaging cameras capable of detecting and recording offences during day and night.

FPV Protector

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7.8m Ribcraft RHIB based in the west of the Southern IFCA district. She is capable of being trailered across the district to be deployed where needed. FPR Protector is used for rapid response and accessing shallow water environments.

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FPV Endeavour

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FPV Endeavour is a 19ft robust aluminium vessel designed for use within Poole Harbour. She has a shallow draft with an a-frame and screen that can be laid flat to allow access to otherwise inaccessible areas of the harbour.

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FPV Stella Barbara

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7.8m Ribcraft RHIB based in the east of the Southern IFCA District. She is capable of being used throughout the district for rapid response and accessing shallow water environments. FPR Stella Barbara is fitted with crew protection, enabling officers to extend the patrol area and patrol for longer periods.

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Southern IFCA engage with stakeholders, local organisations and the general public through patrols, meetings, presentations, lectures and open days. This engagement aims to inform and educate, in addition to obtaining information about fishing activities, markets, trends and industry views of management measures.

It is essential for Southern IFCA officers to inform and educate the fishing industry, stakeholders and members of the public on matters such as updates to management measures, relevant regulations and current issues, in order to ensure individuals are fully informed and voluntary compliance is promoted. Through presentations, open days and information stands, the wider public can be informed about the fishing industry, marine conservation, management measures and the work that Southern IFCA do.

While stakeholder engagement is vital for informing the public, educating industry and maximising compliance, it is also valuable to officers, as it provides offers with the opportunity to gain information about illegal fishing activity, markets and trends, and opinions on current or proposed fisheries management measures. With the development of new management measures, industry and stakeholders are engaged with through calls for information, consultations and meetings in order to gain valuable information and points of view from industry leaders. To see any current consultations, click here , or to see any byelaws being developed click here .

Partnership Working

Southern IFCA work in partnership with a number of other organisations, including law enforcement agencies, local authorities and environmental organisations.

The Southern IFCA Fisheries Protection Team work in partnership with other enforcement agencies, such as the MMO and Marine Policing teams, to tackle fisheries offences across the district. Section 174 of the Marine and Coastal Access Act places a ‘Duty of Co-operation’ on an IFCA to work with it’s adjoining IFCA district (Devon and Severn IFCA to the West and Sussex to the East) and any other authority involved in regulation and enforcement of the sea within its district.

Organisations we work with:

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