September 2019: Changes to European Fishing Legislation

Posted on 5th September 2019

There have been significant changes made to the management of fisheries at a European level which will affect those fishing in the Cornwall IFCA district in a number of ways.

The new technical measures under Regulation (EU) 2019/1241 revoke Council Regulation (EC) 850/98, as well as some other EU regulations.

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is still producing guidance on the implementation of these technical measures, so it will take some time to fully understand how some of the technical measures will be interpreted and applied to fishing activities. As such, some of the information displayed on this website is no longer up to date, but we are working hard to make appropriate corrections.

Click here to view the MMO information on the changes.  If you would like to clarify any fisheries matter, please contact the MMO , or contact us to speak to one of our fishery officers.

One of the significant changes resulting from the new technical measures relates to recreational fishing.


Changes for recreational fishing.

Under the new EU regulation, there are no longer any European minimum sizes for sea fish applied to recreational fishing.  However, the MMO has said that it will apply the 42cm minimum conservation reference size for bass to recreational fishing.

The only minimum sizes that apply to recreational fishing in the Cornwall IFCA district are prescribed under our Specified Fish Sizes byelaw, and other byelaws for various shellfish species.

For recreational fishing, the following minimum sizes apply within the Cornwall IFCA district (with some small exceptions, as described below) Please note these sizes also apply to the commercial sector except where the Landing Obligation is applied.

Fin Fish     


Conger Eel  

58 centimetres


30 centimetres

Grey Mullet 

20 centimetres

Red Seabream 

25 centimetres

Black Seabream

23 centimetres

Red Mullet

15 centimetres

Witch Flounder    

28 centimetres


15 centimetres

Lemon Sole    

25 centimetres


25 centimetres


25 centimetres


30 centimetres


30 centimetres





Edible Crab female


Edible Crab male


Spider crab




The sizes listed above result from byelaws inherited from the former Cornwall Sea Fisheries Committee and therefore, do not apply to the whole of the larger Cornwall IFCA district, principally within the rivers and estuaries.  If you would like further information about this, please contact us .

In addition to the above shellfish minimum sizes, please be aware that cockles that are removed from Cornish rivers and estuaries must not pass through a space of 20mm width.


It is an offence to catch or harvest marine species using any type of projectile, including handheld spears and spear guns used in recreational fishing from dusk till dawn or when using an aqualung.

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