Live Wrasse Fishery

Cornwall IFCA has introduced a new byelaw to manage the removal of live wrasse from its district.

Over the past few years a new fishery has emerged in Cornwall where wrasse are caught to be shipped alive for use as cleaner fish in aquaculture, mainly at Scottish salmon farms. 

The Live Wrasse Fishing (Limited Permit) Byelaw 2018 restricts commercial fishing for live wrasse by introducing a permit system and placing other restrictions on the fishery. The aim is to appropriately manage fishing for live wrasse such that it can be maintained as a small scale, commercially viable fishery.

If you wish to fish commercially for live wrasse you will need to apply for a Live Wrasse Fishery Permit.

There are only five permits allowed at any one time in a calendar year.

Applications for a live wrasse fishery permit will only be accepted by Cornwall IFCA after 9:00 am on Monday 25 February 2019. 

Permits will be issued on a first come first served basis with priority being given to those who can demonstrate a track record of fishing for live wrasse prior to the 1 August 2016.  

After midnight on the 25 March 2019 Cornwall IFCA will cease to consider the track record prioritisation and any unassigned permits will be issued according to the order in which applications are received. 


Click here to download a quick guide to the application process

Click here to download an application form

Click here to download the full application process. 

You do not need to apply for a permit if you are:

·          landing wrasse dead for consumption or use as bait; or

·          if you are fishing recreationally from a vessel with no fishing licence, where the fish are not intended for sale.

Permit holders must comply with the following conditions of the byelaw
(Click here to view the byelaw for the full list of conditions and general provision that also apply):

  • Permit holders must not retain live cuckoo wrasse, which must be returned to the sea as soon as practicable
  • No fishing for live ballan wrasse between 1 Jan – 31 Mar (incl)
  • No live goldsinny, rock cook or corkwing wrasse between 1 May – 30 Jun (incl)
  • Permit holders may not fish for and retain live wrasse in a prohibited area. Click here to view a map of the prohibited areas
  • Minimum sizes for live wrasse are:
    •  Ballan wrasse = 16cm
    • Goldsinny wrasse = 12cm
    • Rock cook wrasse = 12cm
    • Corkwing wrasse = 12cm
  • Pots or traps used for taking live wrasse must:
    • Not exceed a length of 75cm
    • Not exceed a Width of 45cm
    • Not exceed a Depth of 35cm (All dimensions include any rigid exterior)
    • Have a rigid or hard eye entrance that does not exceed a diameter, height and width of 9cm
    • Have at least two unobstructed escape gaps measuring at least 7cm in height and at least 1cm in width
© Copyright 2019 Cornwall Inshore Fisheries and Conservation AuthorityWeb Design By Toolkit Websites