Pots and Traps


Changes to European Legislation may have impacted on the information on this page.

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Please contact us to discuss any concerns you may have around your fishing activities.

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This is an introduction to the legislation which manages potting for shellfish in the Cornwall IFCA district.

Within the  Cornwall IFCA district  you must comply with three layers of legislation.

European fishery rules: These are applied to the EU member states and cover a wide range of subjects including minimum fish sizes, fishing methods and gear, fish quotas, logbooks and landing declarations, vessel monitoring systems etc. The rules can all be found within a publication known as the Blue Book which can be viewed on the Marine Management Organisation’s website.

National rules: In addition to EU regulations, there is national legislation applied to fisheries and fishing activities.  This can also be found in the  Blue Book

Cornwall IFCA byelaws:  Locally, there are further fishing restrictions applied under Byelaws made by Cornwall IFCA for managing fisheries within its district.  The byelaws which may apply to a particular fishing method are listed below.

Guidance and advice: If you would like any guidance or advice on the legislation which may affect fishing within the Cornwall IFCA district, please  contact us .

Shellfish Pots

As well as the rules contained within the Blue Book the following Cornwall IFCA byelaws apply within the Cornwall IFCA district .

Cornwall IFCA Shellfish Permit

The Cornwall IFCA shellfish permit is available to registered and licensed vessels only. Without a permit you are not allowed to remove more than a maximum of five shellfish per day from the species lobster, crawfish, edible crab and spider crab, with no more than two of these five being from the lobster and crawfish species combined.

As recreational vessels are not eligible for a Cornwall IFCA Shellfish Permit, each vessel is limited to five shellfish per day as described above. 

Lobster, Crawfish and Crab Fishing Permit byelaw

Maximum size for shellfish boats in the district

The maximum overall length for a boat which is fishing for shellfish in the district is 16.46m.

Shellfish Boats byelaw

Minimum sizes for fish and shellfish 
A number of minimum fish and shellfish sizes are introduced by Cornwall IFCA byelaws these are in addition to those minimum sizes resulting from national and European legislation. 

Full list of minimum sizes which apply in Cornwall

Specified Fish Sizes byelaw

Crabs byelaw

Lobster byelaw

Crawfish byelaw

Spider Crab byelaw

Retaining parts of a crab.

Claws must not be deliberately detached from an edible crab or spider crab which is caught using a pot within the Cornwall IFCA district. If using nets to catch shellfish, please refer to our  netting guidance  for information on retaining parts of crab. 

Parts of Crab byelaw

Please note it is an EU offence to retain parts of a lobster or crawfish as described in the Blue Book .

Berried (egg carrying) lobster and crawfish 
Berried crawfish and lobsters are protected and must be returned to the sea as soon as possible.
Berried Lobsters & Crawfish byelaw
Please note it is a national offence to fish for or land berried lobster or crawfish, as described in the  Blue Book .

V-notched lobster
V-notched or mutilated lobsters are protected and must be returned immediately to the sea.
Protection of V-notched Lobsters byelaw  

Please note it is a national offence to fish for or land a v-notched or mutilated lobster or crawfish, as described in the  Blue Book .

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