.

UK Fisheries Legislation

Primary Acts

Sea Fish (Conservation) Act 1967

This Act contains provisions relating to:

  • Restriction on commercial use of undersize fish
  • Size limits for fish
  • Regulation of nets and other fishing gear
  • Power to restrict fishing for sea fish
  • Penalties for offences

UK fisheries statutory instruments are enacted through and in accordance with the provisions of this primary legislation.

Sea Fisheries (Shellfish) Act 1967 (as amended)

This Act provides for the establishment of several and regulating orders to manage shellfish stocks including crustaceans and molluscs. Provisions include the following:

  • Power to make orders for shellfish
  • Power to grant several and regulating orders
  • Regulation on the taking and sale of certain crabs and lobsters including a prohibition on taking or selling egg bearing or soft shelled edible crab.

Fisheries Act 1981

This Act provides for the regulation of sea fishing and the enforcement of European fisheries regulations in the U.K. The Sea Fish Industry Authority is also constituted under its provisions and other notable sections relate to fish farming and the regulation of whaling. 


Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009

The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 provides for the establishment of Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (IFCAs) including NEIFCA and sets out their core duties, roles and responsibilities in relation to the sustainable management of sea fisheries resources. The Act also provides for the establishment of the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) to oversee national marine planning and licensing functions; the establishment of a national network of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) and statutory public access to the English coastline.

With specific reference to the marine environment this Act places a duty on IFCAs to manage the exploitation of sea fisheries resources in a sustainable way and to  protect and promote recovery of the marine environment including protecting and furthering the conservation objectives of MCZs.

Top of page

 

UK Freshwater Fisheries Legislation

Salmon Act 1986

This Act contains provisions relating to the following in relation to the management and enforcement of salmon fishing in England and Wales:

  • Licensing of dealers in England and Wales;
  • Handling fish in suspicious circumstances;
  • Review of certain salmon net fishing.

Salmon & Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975

This Act contains provisions relating to the following in relation to the management and enforcement of salmon fishing in England and Wales:

  • Prohibition of certain modes of taking or destroying fish;
  • Obstructions to the passage of fish in water courses;
  • Fishing licensing;
  • Regulation and enforcement including Officer powers;
  • Offences.

Top of page

 

UK Marine Environmental Legislation

The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994

This Act provides for the designation, protection and management of Special Areas of Conservation and other Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) within UK jurisdiction in accordance with the EU Habitats Directive. It requires IFCAs and other marine regulatory bodies to exercise their functions to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Habitats Directive. As both 'relevant' and 'competent' authorities, IFCA’s must perform their functions and use their statutory powers in ways consistent with the conservation objectives of European marine sites lying within their jurisdiction.

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000

This Act provides for the protection of sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSIs) in England and Wales and the public right of access.  Under the provisions of the Act IFCA’s are classed as '28G' authorities with powers to grant permissions to other parties to carry out proposed operations. Where such operations are likely to damage a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), the legislation places a duty on IFCA’s to consult and take advice from the Nature Conservancy Council (Natural England) within specified timelines.

Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006

This Act specifically established and constituted Natural England and places an obligation on public authorities to have regard for the conservation of biodiversity. Amongst other things the legislation also empowers the Secretary of State to publish lists of living organisms or habitats thought to be of key importance to the conservation of biodiversity in England and Wales. Importantly, with regard to IFCA’s, the Act amended Section 28 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 making IFCA’s liable to prosecution and upon conviction, a fine of up to £20,000, where they continued to permit an operation which caused damage to the features of a Site of Special Scientific Interest.



Top of page

 

UK Secondary Fisheries Legislation

Statutory Instruments

This legislation is made in accordance with provisions contained within one or more of the UK primary fisheries Acts and includes the following Statutory Instruments:

Shellfish

SI 1989 No 919 The Undersize Velvet Crabs Order 1989

Sets a national minimum size of 65 mm for the landing, sale and carriage of velvet crabs.

SI 1998 No 1276 The Razor Shells, Trough Shells and Carpet Shells (Specified Sea Area) (Prohibition of Fishing) Order 1998

Prohibits the use of any dredge to fish for razor shells, trough shells and carpet shells within certain specified areas in UK waters.

SI 2000 No 874 The Lobsters and Crawfish (Prohibition of Fishing and Landing) Order 2000

Prohibits the fishing for or landing of any ‘V’ notched or mutilated lobster or crawfish in UK waters.

SI 2000 No 1502 The Undersized Spider Crabs Order 2000

Sets a national minimum size of 130 mm for the landing of male spider crabs.

SI 2000 No 1503 The Undersized Lobsters Order 2000

Sets a national minimum size of 87 mm for the landing, sale and carriage of lobsters.

SI 2000 No 2029 The Undersize Edible Crabs Order 2000

Sets a minimum size of 130 mm for the landing of edible crab in all areas accept the Districts of Eastern, Devon and Severn, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly where separate landing sizes apply.

SI 2004 No 12 The Scallop Fishing Order 2004

Sets national and regional requirements for the type, construction and number of scallop dredges permitted to be used by vessels and minimum size for carriage of scallops in the Irish sea. 

Top of page

 

Whitefish

SI 1989 No 1285 The Undersized Bass Order 1989

Sets a national minimum size of 36 cm for the landing of sea bass.

SI 1990 No 1156 The Bass (Specified Areas) (Prohibition of Fishing) Order 1990 as varied by SI 1999 No 75 The Bass (Specified Areas) (Prohibition of Fishing)(Variation) Order 1999

Prohibits fishing for sea bass within certain specified areas in UK waters.

SI 1998 No 207 The Sole, etc. (Specified Sea Areas) (Prohibition of Fishing) (Variation) Order 1998 as vaired

Prohibits the fishing for sole, plaice and certain other species within specified areas in UK waters.

SI 1998 No 1195 The Cod (Specified Sea Areas) (Prohibition of Fishing) Order 1998

Prohibits the fishing for cod during specified times and within specified areas in UK waters.

SI 1998 No 2867 The Herring (Specified Sea Areas) (Prohibition of Fishing) Order 1998

Prohibits the fishing for herring during specified times and within specified areas in UK waters.

SI 2000 No 1081 The Sea Fishing (Enforcement of Community Conservation Measures Order) 2000 as amended

Provides listed Officers with powers to enforce EU fisheries regulations applicable within UK waters.

SI 2001 No 649 The Sea Fish (Specified Sea Areas) (Regulation of Nets and other Fishing Gear) Order 2001

Provides certain requirements for mesh size, twine thickness and the installation of square mesh panels within trawl nets used in specified areas of UK waters.

SI 2001 No 650 The Prohibition of Fishing with Multiple Trawls Order 2001

Prohibits the use of multiple trawls within specified areas of UK waters.

SI 2002 No 2870 The Shrimp Fishing Nets Order 2002

Provides for the installation of a mandatory separator panel or grid in small mesh nets targeting shrimps.

SI 2004 No 3226 The Sea Fishing (Enforcement of Community Satellite Monitoring Measures) Order 2004

Provides for the mandatory installation of satellite monitoring equipment on board certain fishing vessels operating in UK waters.

SI 2005 No 17 The Incidental catches of Cetaceans in Fisheries (England) Order 2005

Provides for the mandatory installation of acoustic deterrent devices within certain fixed worked by vessels in UK waters

SI 2006 No 1549 The Sea Fishing (Marking and Identification of Passive Fishing Gear and Beam Trawls) (England) Order 2006

Provides for the mandatory marking of passive gear and beam trawls, meeting certain specified criteria, in UK waters.

SI 2007 No 2554 The Sea Fishing (Prohibition on the Removal of Shark Fins) Order 2007

Prohibits the removal, retention, transhipment, landing, sale, discarding of shark fins within UK waters. 

Top of page