Scallop Dredging


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Scallop dredging is a term used to describe the use of dredges which are towed along the seabed behind a vessel to catch scallops. The catch may include some fish and other shellfish species.

This is an introduction to the legislation covering scallop dredging in the Cornwall IFCA district .  If you would like to discuss any of the legislation below please contact us .

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.  These 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 .

Scallop dredging
As well as the rules contained within the Blue Book the following restrictions are introduced under Cornwall IFCA byelaws.

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. 

Prohibition of dredging at certain times of the day

Dredging for scallops is prohibited between 19:00hrs and 07:00hrs, every day. 

Scallop Dredge (Limited Fishing Time) byelaw

Restrictions on the number of dredges and on dredge and towing bar construction 
The maximum number of dredges that can be used at any one time is a total of 12.
The maximum overall width of a dredge must not exceed 85cm. The belly rings must not have an inside diameter of less than 75mm The backnetting of a dredge must not have a mesh size of less than 100mm.
The maximum length of a towing bar must not exceed 5.18m.
Methods of Fishing (Dredges) byelaw

Prohibition of retaining parts of scallops
Scallops which are kept or landed must be whole. It is an offence to cut a scallop meat from its shell before it is landed ashore. 
Parts of Escallops byelaw

Prohibition of the use of bottom towed gear in some areas
The use of bottom towed gear, such as scallop dredges and demersal trawls, is prohibited in some areas.

Closed Areas (European Marine Sites) byelaw
Manacles Marine Conservation Zone byelaw
Whitsand and Looe Bay Marine Conservation Zone (Fishing Restrictions) Byelaw 2018 
Regulation of Scallop Dredging in the Fal and Helford European Marine Site

Minimum sizes for fish and shellfish species
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

Restrictions on retaining crabs, lobsters and crawfish

There are a number of restrictions on retaining crabs, lobsters and crawfish. If you wish to keep these species you may need a Cornwall IFCA shellfish permit, and you will need to be aware of a number of other rules related to crustaceans. All of these can be found within the Potting section of this web site. 

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