Jan 2018: Cornwall IFCA River and Estuarine Fishing Nets Byelaw 2017

Posted on 18th January 2018

Defra has confirmed into law a new byelaw banning netting for sea fish (with a small number of specific exceptions) in Cornwall's rivers and estuaries.

It is an offence, with specific exceptions listed below, to use a net for the purposes of taking sea fish from any of the rivers or estuaries in the Cornwall IFCA district. In addition, it is also an offence to carry a net on board a vessel while undertaking any fishing activity for sea fish (including shellfish) in any of the rivers or estuaries in the Cornwall IFCA district. The prohibition on carrying, or using a net does not apply to the following exceptions:
  1. Ebb nets: Ebb netting is an unusual method of fishing where a single panel of fishing net is fixed between two poles, pivoted from one side of a vessel, where the vessel is moored in a river, estuary, channel or stream. The use of ebb nets is subject to certain conditions, including an annual ebb net permit, annual catch returns and a notification period prior to using the net. In addition ebb nets cannot be used in the River Tamar (western part) or River Lynher or in the River Camel or River Fowey from May to December incl. or east of Pinkson Creek in the River Camel from January to April incl.
  2. Sand eel seine nets: Sand eel seine nets are allowed from the shore or from a boat, though their construction and operation is restricted. An annual seine net permit is required from Cornwall IFCA, which requires annual catch returns to be made. Sand eel seines cannot be used in the River Tamar (western part) or River Lynher.

    If you require an ebb net permit or a sand eel seine net permit, you can obtain an application form from Cornwall IFCA. There is no charge for either permit.
  3. Various low impact nets
    • brailling nets (small nets used for bringing fish aboard a vessel, usually from a trap or larger encircling net);
    • landing nets used in conjunction with fishing by rod and line or a trolling line;
    • any net which forms part of a dredge or pot placed or used for fishing for shellfish;
    • any net which forms part of a trap placed or used for fishing for or taking sea fish, where the trap encloses fish within a framework structure; or
    • any net which when fully expanded does not exceed an area of four square meters, where it is operated only manually and not in connection with any vessel or mechanical device.

Click here to view the full text of the new byelaw.

You can find a full text of this byelaw, as well as all the byelaws in effect within the Cornwall IFCA district on the byelaw and regulations section of this website. Please note this byelaw has revoked a number of former byelaws. The list of those byelaws revoked can be found at the end of the byelaw text. The revoked byelaws have been removed from the published byelaws on this site.

The byelaw was originally placed for public consultation in September and October 2016 and was then made at the December 2016 Cornwall IFCA Authority meeting and sent to Defra for confirmation. The consultation process raised a number of concerns from the public as well as from some organisations. As a result there was a considerable amount of additional time spent working with Defra to make modifications to this byelaw to resolve the concerns raised.

The modifications made by Defra relate to the use of ebb nets and introduce the ebb net permit and permit conditions described above.

Please contact us for further details about the byelaw, or to enquire about obtaining a sand eel seine or ebb net permit.


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