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UK Sea Fishing FAQ page discussing UK Sea Angling and the Law and it relevance to the UK Sea Fisherman / woman.

UK Sea Angling Law

U.K. Sea Fishing FAQ   -   Pysgota Mor y Deyrnas Gyfunol


UK Sea Fishing Law


3. U.K Sea Angling And The Law
  3.1 Is a Rod Licence Required?
    No licence is required for sport fishing in either UK or Irish saltwater

  3.2 Is there a closed season?
    There are no closed seasons apart from those dictated by the fish
    themselves as they migrate.

  3.3 Do Cod bans apply to anglers?
    Yes. These bans have been applied at short notice and over localised sea
    areas on a number of occasions during past seasons. The ban applies to
    all boat caught cod be it for pleasure or commercial gain and prevents
    any fish being landed by boat. The bans have been very localised with
    boats fishing from nearby ports being unaffected. Shore anglers are not
    included in any bans

  3.4 Do minimum sizes apply to anglers?
    Size limits set by the local fisheries offices are legally binding. It
    is an offence to retain any fish below these sizes. The species covered
    by these size limits are those of commercial importance and also include
    lobster, edible crabs and certain shellfish. The NFSA minimum sizes
    either equal or exceed the statutory minimum sizes, and also include
    other species. Contact your local fisheries office for the exact sizes
    and species in your area.

    I have heard conflicting reports on whether fish or shellfish being used
    for angling bait need to comply with the legal minimum sizes.
    Can anyone confirm or deny this?

  3.5 Is a licence required to dig bait?
    No. Collecting bait is free and unrestricted in most cases.

    You may be prevented from digging in harbours, especially around
    moorings.  Some parts of the shore may be commercial shellfish beds,
    where bait collecting is prevented.  The most publicised area where bait
    digging has been banned, under Section 29 of the Wildlife and
    Countryside Act, is in Budle Bay.

    There is talk of a licence being required for commercial bait collectors
    who set traps below the highwater mark for peeler crab.

  3.6 Are there any restrictions on what fish you can catch?
     Alis Shad are protected. It is illegal to catch & land them.

     Salmon, and Sea Trout require a National River Authority rod licence
     even if caught in the sea. Without a licence they must be released.

     Pete Marrow writes:
       The above is not the case in Scotland. Fishing for salmon and sea
       trout from the foreshore is a rather grey area legally in Scotland.

  3.7 Where are the bass nursery areas?
     In 1990 MAFF set up 34 bass nursery areas, where boat fishing for bass
     (both commercially and recreationally) is either banned or restricted.
     There are no restrictions on shore fishing.

     Here are the affected areas:

       All year ban on boat bass fishing
         Isle of Grain Power Station
         Kingsnorth Power Station (River Medway)
         Fleet (Dorset)
         Plymouth Rivers
         Aberthaw Power Station

       Boat bass fishing banned June 1 to Sept 30
         Dee Estuary
         Heysham Power Station

       Boat bass fishing banned May 1 to Oct 31
         Bradwell Power Station
         Chichester Harbour
         Langstone Harbour
         Portsmouth Harbour
         Southampton Water
         Fawley Power Station
         Poole Harbour
         River Exe
         River Teign
         River Torridge
         River Taw
         Burry Inlet
         The Taf, Tywi and Gwendraeth Estuary
         Milford Haven
         River Dyfi
         River Mawdadach
         Dwyryd/Glaslyn Estuary
         Conwy Estuary

       Boat bass fishing banned May 1 to Nov 30
         River Camel

       Boat bass fishing banned May 1 to Dec 31
         River Dart
         Salcombe Harbour
         River Avon (Devon)
         River Yealm
         River Fowey
         Fal Estuary
         Percuil River
         Halford River

     The exact limits of these areas and any additional local restrictions
     can be obtained from your local fisheries office.

  3.8 Charter Boat Regulations & Certificates of Compliance
     All boats carrying fare paying passengers are now required to follow
     codes of practice (C.O.P.) set out by the government. The boats are
     surveyed and have to meet the requirements of their licence that covers
     insurance, safety equipment and the operating range of the boat. Boats
     that have met the standard will display a Certificate of Compliance
     showing they have met the conditions set out in the C.O.P.

     Certificate of Compliance, category 1
       This means that the boat can sail at any time, in any weather, any

     Certificate of Compliance, category 2
       Boats with this licence can sail at any time, in any weather, up to
       60 miles from a designated safe haven.

     Certificate of Compliance, category 3
       This licence allows boats to sail in favourable weather, at any time,
       up to 20 miles from a designated safe haven.

     Certificate of Compliance, category 4
       The boat can sail up to 20 miles from a designated safe haven, in
       favourable weather and in the hours of daylight (one hour before
       sunrise until one hour after sunset).

     Certificate of Intent.
       Boats with this certificate have until April 1998 to pass the final
       survey for a compliance certificate. It may mean that a boat
       currently with a category 3 licence is undergoing the work to upgrade
       to category 2. Check the exact details with the skipper.

     Local Authority Certificate.
       The exact conditions for these licences vary from authority to
       authority. Generally the boat is restriced to go within 3 miles of
       shore and has working safety equipment.

     It has been pointed out to me by Peter Heaslewood that not all of the
     above regulations apply in the case of licenced commercial fishing boats
     or for boats which have a DTI Load-Line Licence.

     Before booking any charter boat, it is best to check with the skipper
     that the boat is licenced and ask to see the certificate. If you use an
     unlicenced craft and any accident happens, you are likely to be
     uninsured and you may find that the safety equipment on board (if any)
     is inadequate.

Jun 9 1998, 12:00 am


sea fish

U.K. Sea Fishing FAQ - Pysgota Mor y Deyrnas Gyfunol - Compiled by : Colin Albert
This site: Copyright 2005 UKSeaFishing All Rights Reserved

UK Sea Fishing on the Web

Up to date additions to the UK Sea Fishing pages - these links are active! If your resource is listed here, please reciprocate and add to your own site - thanks!

UK Sea Angling Law

Net Benefits : a sustainable and profitable future for UK fishing - Published by the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit, this report published in April 2004 aims to provide "a strategy for a long-run sustainable UK sea fishing industry". Chapter headings include current situation and challenges, future scenarios for the UK sea fishing industry, risk managers in EU fisheries, UK seafishing industry strategy, community Strategies, integrating fisheries into broader marine management, UK and EU fisheries management strategy, and transition and implementation.

COMMITTEE FORECASTS BRIGHT FUTURE FOR UK FISHING INDUSTRY - Report from the House of Commons Agriculture Committee. In its Eighth Report of Session 1998/99, Sea Fishing, published today, the Agriculture Committee examines the current state of the UK sea fishing industry and concludes that, with proper guidance from Government, it can enjoy a bright and successful future. Contrary to the perception that fishing is an industry of victims, the Committee concludes that the entrepreneurial flair and dedication it has discovered in the industry can be turned to advantage in creating a successful, competitive fishing fleet.



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