Regulations


Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) is responsible for the enforcement of fisheries legislation (IFCA byelaws and National Orders) across the Sussex IFCA District.

IFCAs byelaw making, and enforcement powers come under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (MACAA) (Section 155 to 166). The IFCAs have been reviewing all byelaws because of the act, as such new byelaws are being regularly created and old byelaws revoked.

You will find full details of the byelaws that apply to Sussex IFCA District below, alongside Codes of Practice and Voluntary Agreements.

Application to fish for scientific

Establishing detailed rules for the placing of nets (engines) in the Sussex District.

The following [all other Sussex IFCA Byelaws] byelaws shall unless otherwise specified apply to the whole area of the District, provided that nothing in these byelaws shall apply to any person fishing for seafish for scientific purposes, or for stocking or breeding purposes under the written authority in that behalf of the Local Fisheries Committee, signed by their Clerk, and in accordance with the conditions contained in that Authority.

The above Byelaw was established prior to the extension of the District on the 19th March 1996 (S.I. 1996 No. 847 Sea Fisheries, The Sussex Sea Fisheries District (Variation) Order 1996), and therefore shall not apply to any part of the sea beyond three nautical miles from the baselines, as defined in the limits of the Sussex Sea Fisheries District.

Application to Fish

Chichester Harbour European Marine Site (Specified Areas) Prohibition of Fishing Method Byelaw

Establishing areas of Chichester Harbour where certain activities are prohibited to protect Zostera spp. seagrass within the European Marine Site.

Byelaw Impact Assessment Seagrass Maps & Management Polygons Chi Harbour

Chichester Harbour Oyster Permit Byelaw

Establishing a permit system for the dredging of oysters in Chichester Harbour

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE CHICHESTER HARBOUR OYSTER FISHERY WILL BE CLOSED FOR THE 2021 SEASON

Following recent sampling of the Chichester Harbour oyster beds, we have issued a formal notice of closure.

2021 Oyster Season Notice of Closure Byelaw Byelaw Conditions Oyster Permit Application Chi Harbour Oyster Permit

Fishing Instruments Byelaw

Establishing what fishing gears can be used within Sussex IFCA District

As Amended

1. This byelaw applies to any part of the district within a line drawn on the seaward side of the baselines 6 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea adjacent to the United Kingdom is measured. For the purposes of this paragraph "the baselines" means the baselines as they existed at 25th January 1983 in accordance with the Territorial Waters Order in Council 1964 (1965 111 p. 6452A) as amended by the Territorial Waters (Amendment) Order in Council 1979 (1979 11 p. 2866)

2. No person shall fish for seafish except by one or more of the following methods and subject to any conditions set out in this byelaw.

(i) a trawl or trawls used in fishing for

(a) all demersal and pelagic species

(b) scallops (pecten maximus)

(c) queen scallops (clamys opercularis)

(d) whelks (Buccinum undatum L.)

(e) demersal and pelagic cephalopods.

(f) crustacean speciesAll other species must be immediately returned to the sea

(ii) a pair trawl used in fishing for pelagic species.

(iii) a pair trawl for demersal species; provided that when this method is used within the District West of a line drawn due South from the landward end (50 degrees 49.59 minutes North and 000 degrees 14.8 minutes West) of the Western Breakwater of Shoreham Harbour, between the first day of April and the last day of June in the same year - both dates inclusive - the codend shall consist along its length of not less than 40 rows of meshes of a minimum size of 110 millimetres when measured in accordance with Commission Regulation (EEC) 517/2008”

(iv) a drift net or nets with a mesh size of not more than 65 millimetres and not less than 89 millimetres when measured in accordance with Commission Regulation (EEC) 2108/84 between directly opposite mesh knots.

(v) a trammel net or nets, a fixed gill net or nets and all fixed enmeshing nets with a mesh of a minimum size of 90 millimetres when measured in accordance with Commission Regulation (EEC) 2108/84 between directly opposite mesh knots, except that in the case of keddle nets, a minimum mesh size of 50 millimetres, when measured in accordance with Commission Regulation (EEC) 2108/84 between directly opposite mesh knots shall be permitted in a fishing operation directed at herring and mackerel.

(vi) hooks, lines, long lines, beach seines, fyke nets, pots and traps;

(vii) oyster dredges; but only within that part of the District that lies to the West of a line drawn due South of the landward end of Bognor Pier (50 degrees 46.87 minutes North and 000 degrees 40.45 minutes West). As amended by the Oyster Permit Byelaw 16th September 2015 Paragraph 1 Section J (ii)

(viii) dredges used in fishing for scallops (pecten maximus) but only within that part of the District that lies between 3 and 6 nautical miles from baselines and provided that any such dredge is of the spring loaded "Newhaven" type. "French" or paravane type scallop dredges shall be banned.

(ix) Keddle nets at Keddle Net Stands licensed by the Rother District Council under the terms of a lease dated 6th day of February 1986 made between Her Majesty the Queen, the Crown Estate Commissioners and the Rother District Council.

3. For the purposes of this byelaw, a pair trawl for demersal species shall mean a trawl fitted with a footrope that is designed to maintain contact with the seabed whilst being towed jointly by two vessels.

4. For the purposes of this byelaw pelagic species shall mean garfish, herring, horse mackerel, mackerel, pilchard and sprat.

Explanatory Notes (these notes are not part of the byelaw)

1. The purpose of paragraph 2 (iii) is to protect the stocks of juvenile black bream and bass that are normally present in the area described during the period stated.

2. Commission Regulation (EEC) 517/2008 describes the method to be used to establish a mesh size on towed gear (trawls and seines) and fixed gear and drift nets

Finishing Instruments Pair Trwal
Fishing Instruments Scallop Dredge

Fixed Engines Byelaw

Establishing detailed rules for the placing of nets (engines) in the Sussex IFCA District.

Fixed engine in this context refers to nets.

The local Sea Fisheries Committee for Sussex Sea Fisheries District (“the Committee”) in the exercise of its powers conferred by section 5 of the Sea Fisheries Regulation Act 1966, revokes its Fixed Engine Byelaw, which was confirmed on 30th August 1994, and replaces it with the following new

Byelaw:

The placing and use of any fixed engine in any part of the District is hereby authorised except that:

A. No person shall place or use any fixed engine between the 1st day of May and 30th day of September (both days inclusive) in the following areas:

i. 400 metres either side of the West Groyne Head No 2 light (50 degrees 55.55 mins.N. 000 degrees 46.7 mins.E.) at Rye Harbour and 200 metres seaward of the mark of the lowest astronomical tide.

ii. 400 metres either side of the Eastern Bank (50 degrees 45.52 mins.N. 000 degrees 09.02 mins. E) at the entrance to Cuckmere Haven and 200 metres seaward of the mark of the lowest astronomical tide.

iii. 400 metres East of the landward end (50 degrees 46.9 mins.N. 000 degrees 03.6 mins.E.) of the East Pier and 400 metres West of the landward end (50 degrees 46.75 mins.N. 000 degrees 03.22 mins.E.) of the West Breakwater of Newhaven Harbour and 200 metres seaward of the mark of the lowest astronomical tide.

iv. 400 metres East of the landward end of the Eastern Breakwater (50 degrees 48.7 mins.N. 000 degrees 05.44 mins.W.) and 400 metres West of the landward end of the Western Breakwater (50 degrees 48.79 mins.N. 000 degrees 06.37 mins.W.) of Brighton Marina and 200 metres seaward of the mark of the lowest astronomical tide.

v. 400 metres either side of the landward end (50 degrees 49.59 mins.N. 000 degrees 14.8 mins.W.) of the Western Breakwater of Shoreham Harbour and 200 metres seaward of the mark of the lowest astronomical tide.

vi. 400 metres either side of the landward end (50 degrees 48 mins.N. 000 degrees 32.41 mins.W.) of the Western Arm of Littlehampton Harbour and 200 metres seaward of the mark of the lowest astronomical tide.

B. No person shall place or use any fixed engine other than fyke nets between the 1st day of May and the 30th day of September both days inclusive north of a line drawn across the entrance to Chichester Harbour from East Head (50 degrees 47.3 mins.N. 000 degrees 54.6 mins.W.) to Sandy Point (50 degrees 47.2 mins.N. 000 degrees 56.1.mins.W.)

C. No person shall place or maintain any fixed engine across or partly across any channel or creek north of a line drawn across the entrance to Chichester Harbour from East Head (50 degrees 47.3 mins.N. 000 degrees 54.6 mins.W.) to Sandy Point (50 degrees 47.2 mins.N. 000 degrees 56.1.mins.W.) between the commencement of the last hour before low water and the expiration of the first hour after low water and in the case of any channel or creek or part thereof which becomes dry at low water, during the period between the commencement of the last hour before the tide leaves the channels or creeks or part thereof and the expiration of the first hour after the tide had begun to re-enter the same, between the 1st day of October and the 30th day of April of the following year, both days inclusive.

D. No person shall use in fishing any fixed engine, gillnet or unattended drift net in the remaining areas of the District between the first day of May and the 30th day of September both days inclusive providing that this paragraph shall not apply to:-

i. Any such fixed engine, net or nets with the headline at least 1.5 metres below the surface of the water at any state of the tide; or

ii. Keddle Net stands licensed by Rother District Council under terms of a lease dated the 6th day of February 1986 made between HM the Queen, the Crown Estate Commissioners and Rother District Council.

The above Byelaw was established prior to the extension of the District on 19th March 1996 (S.I. 1996 No. 847 Sea Fisheries, The Sussex Sea Fisheries District (Variation) Order 1996), and therefore shall not apply to any part of the sea beyond three nautical miles from the baselines, as defined in the limits of the Sussex Sea Fisheries District.

Fixed Engine Chi large
Fixed Engine Chi small
Fixed Engine Littlehampton
Fixed Engine Shoreham & Brighton
Fixed Engine Newhaven
Fixed Engine Rye

Marine Protected Area Byelaw

Establishing fisheries management for Marine Conservation Zones, Special Areas of Conservation, Special Protected Areas and other Marine Protected Areas

Schedule 1 MPA Byelaw Kingmere MCZ

Schedule 2 MPA Byelaw Beachy Head West MCZ

Schedule 3 MPA Byelaw Pagham MCZ

Schedule 4 MPA Byelaw Utopia MCZ

MPA Byelaw
Kingmere MCZ Beachy Head West MCZ Pagham Harbour MCZ Utopia MCZ

Marine Protected Area Byelaw - KINGMERE MARINE CONSERVATION ZONE

Sussex IFCA’s role with regard to Kingmere MCZ is to introduce appropriate management of the fisheries activities that have a negative impact on the features of conservation importance; the black seabream, the chalk and rock covered in a layer of sediment.

Sussex IFCA has introduced management of commercial and recreational fishing that promotes compliance and support from the community, whilst meeting the conservation requirements of Kingmere MCZ. Management came into force in December 2016.

Kingmere MCZ documents:

MCZ Schedule MCZ Guidance MCZ Impact Assessment MCZ Leaflet Voluntary Code of Conduct Kingmere MCZ Zones Kingmere MCZ Zones

Marine Protected Area Byelaw – BEACHY HEAD WEST MARINE CONSERVATION ZONE

Sussex IFCA’s role with regard to Beachy Head West MCZ is to introduce appropriate management of the fisheries activities that have a negative impact on the features of conservation importance which include chalk, blue mussels, native oysters and short-snouted seahorses. 

Beachy Head West MCZ stretches along the coastline from Brighton Marina to Beachy Head, with a gap at Newhaven. It extends half a nautical mile seaward from the mean high-water line, covering approximately 24km2. This area includes the Heritage Coast within the South Downs National Park, the eastern half of the Brighton and Lewes Downs Biosphere (the Living Coast) and part of the Seven Sisters Voluntary Marine Conservation Area.

BHW MCZ documents:

MCZ Guidance Boundary Guidance MCZ Impact Assessment MCZ Leaflet Beachy Head West MCZ Points

Sussex IFCA has introduced a combination of both voluntary measures and regulation of commercial and recreational fishing that promotes compliance and support from the community, whilst meeting the conservation requirements of Beachy Head West MCZ. The supporting voluntary code of conduct promotes good practice and aims to enhance the conservation outcomes for the site.

Voluntary Code of Conduct Beachy Head West MCZ byelaw

Marine Protected Area Byelaw – PAGHAM HARBOUR MARINE CONSERVATION ZONE

Pagham Harbour MCZ is one of the seven MCZs designated within Sussex coastal waters and is also designated as a Special Protection Area (SPA), Ramsar, and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). This naturally occurring tidal inlet is fronted by two dynamic shingle spits and is renowned for its rich wildlife.

Pagham Harbour was designated within the first tranche of MCZ sites in November 2013. The small coastal site is located between Bognor Regis and Selsey in West Sussex, measuring approximately 3km2.

As an MCZ, the site provides specific protection for seagrass beds, Defolin’s lagoon snail (Caecum armoricum) and lagoon sand shrimp (Gammarus insensibilis). As an SPA, the site protects the habitats of internationally important populations of threatened and migratory bird species to support their survival and reproduction.      

Management for both the MCZ and SPA protected features have been developed by Sussex IFCA in close liaison with partner organisations and through public consultation. The management is defined in Schedule 3 of the MPA Byelaw. Formal consultation took place in April 2017 and the byelaw was signed off by the Secretary of State in July 2018.

A pro-active approach to fisheries management within Pagham Harbour is important to maintain sustainable fisheries and a healthy marine environment. As potentially the only near-pristine site within Sussex’s coastal waters, a one-off fishing activity occurrence could have a significant effect on protected features.

Pagham Harbour MCZ documents:

MCZ Guidance MCZ Impact Assessment MCZ Leaflet Pagham MCZ map

Marine Protected Area Byelaw – UTOPIA MARINE CONSERVATION ZONE

Utopia consists of an outcrop of rock with large boulders, creating a reef-like feature that sticks up from the surrounding sediments east of Bembridge and south-west of Selsey.

This rocky reef supports rich communities of sponges and anthozoans. Anthozoans are a group of soft animals with feathery tentacles, which includes soft corals, sea-fans, cup corals and anemones. The reef is surrounded by sediment made up mostly of gravel and sand. The animals that live in Utopia MCZ are mainly large, slow growing species such as branching sponges which provide hiding places for small fish, crabs and prawns. It is also an important area for many shark species such as tope and smoothhounds.

Utopia was designated within the second tranche of MCZ sites in January 2016. The small inshore site measures 2.7km2 and is located approximately 10km south of Selsey Bill and 20km east of the Isle of Wight.

Management has been developed by Sussex IFCA in close liaison with partner organisations and through public consultation. The management is defined in Schedule four within the MPA Byelaw. Formal consultation took place in September 2017 and the byelaw was signed off by the Secretary of State in July 2018.

Utopia MCZ documents:

MCZ Guidance MCZ Impact Assessment MCZ Leaflet

Within the MCZ, it is prohibited to use towed gear (a trawl or dredge). Towed gear operators inside the buffer zone (0.5 nautical miles outside the MCZ boundary) must use an active vessel monitoring system.

Utopia leaflet map

Nearshore Trawling Byelaw

Establishing areas where trawling is prohibited within the Sussex IFCA District.

Sussex seas are now better protected for generations to come thanks to new progressive management of trawling. The Sussex Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authority's new Nearshore Trawling Byelaw has been approved by the Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs. Trawling is now banned throughout the year in large areas along the Sussex coast to allow habitats to regenerate.

The new management measures are intended to help safeguard the habitats that ensure sustainable inshore fisheries into the future. The area includes a large area out to 4km between Selsey and Shoreham-by-Sea, which until the late 1980s held extensive kelp forests that in turn supported abundant marine wildlife including important commercial fish species such as bass, black seabream, lobster and cuttlefish.

The new trawling restrictions will also encompass the Marine Conservation Zone known as 'Selsey Bill & the Hounds'.

The Authority's new measures reflect an ecosystem approach toward fisheries management, recognising the importance of healthy marine habitats in supporting long term healthy commercial and recreational fisheries. In addition to the fisheries benefits that recovering kelp forests provide, coastal kelp beds help combat climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (carbon sequestration), reduce coastal erosion by absorbing wave energy and provide a haven for wildlife.

Sussex IFCA will be working with our partners and the community to raise awareness of the importance of marine habitat protection and its links to sustainable fisheries.

Byelaw Byelaw Guidance Summary Leaflet Impact Assessment Natural Capital Factsheet Assessment Shifting Baseline Factsheet

Scallop Closed Season

Establishing a closed season for the use of scallop dredges in the Sussex IFCA District.

SEA FISHERIES REGULATION ACT 1966

The Committee for the Sussex Sea Fisheries District in exercise of its powers under Section 5 of the Sea Fisheries Regulation Act 1966 hereby makes the following byelaw:

ANNUAL SEASON FOR THE REMOVAL OF SCALLOPS (Pecten maximus)

This byelaw applies to any part of the district within a line drawn on the seaward side of the baselines 6 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea adjacent to the United Kingdom is measured.

For the purposes of this paragraph "the baselines" means the baselines as they existed at 25th January 1983 in accordance with the Territorial Waters Order in Council 1964 (1965 111 p. 6452A) as amended by the Territorial Waters (Amendment) Order in Council 1979 (1979 11 p. 2866).

(i) In this Byelaw, "the prohibited season" shall mean the period from 1st June to 31st October in any year, both dates inclusive.

(ii) No person shall dredge for scallops (Pecten maximus) during the prohibited season.

(iii) During the prohibited season no person shall remove from the fishery using any trawl more than 200 scallops (Pecten maximus) during any period of 24 hours commencing at midnight.

I hereby certify that the above byelaw was made by the Committee at its meeting held on 29th April 2004.

Signed

T.M. Dapling
Clerk to the Committee

The foregoing Byelaw is hereby CONFIRMED on behalf of the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 7 of the Sea Fisheries Regulation Act 1966; IN WITNESS whereof the Official Seal of the Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is hereunto affixed on Lindsay Harris Head of Sea Fisheries Conservation Division.

Explanatory Note (This note does not form part of the above byelaw)The Committee's current Fishing Instrument Byelaw prohibits the use of scallop dredges, except in that part of the District which lies between three and six nautical miles from baselines. A closed season for scallop dredge use is intended to protect spawning stock, and promote growth rates. A by-catch provision has been established for vessels engaged in trawling.

Scallop closed season

Shellfish Permit Byelaw

Establishing a permit system and additional regulation for fishing of lobster, crab, whelk, cuttlefish and prawns in Sussex IFCA District.

Shellfish Permit Byelaw Shellfish Permit Guidance FAQs Gear Marking Guide Apply for a permit Shellfish Permit Data Areas

Vessel Length

Establishing the maximum permitted length of vessel to be used in the Sussex IFCA District.

1. This byelaw applies to any part of the district within a line drawn on the seaward side of the baselines 6 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea adjacent to the United Kingdom is measured. For the purposes of this paragraph "the baselines" means the baselines as they existed at 25th January 1983 in accordance with the Territorial Waters Order in Council 1964 (1965 111 p. 6452A) as amended by the Territorial Waters (Amendment) Order in Council 1979 (1979 11p. 2866).

2. No vessel which exceeds 14 metres overall length shall be used in fishing for seafish, unless:

(i) in that part of the district which lies between 3 miles from baselines it fished there prior to the byelaw coming into force and remains in the same ownership as on 14th January 1991, or it is a vessel of the same or lesser overall length and horsepower replacing such a vessel;

(ii) in that part of the district which lies between 3 and 6 miles from baselines:

(a) it was used for fishing there before this byelaw came into force, or it is a vessel of the same or lesser overall length and horsepower replacing such a vessel; and

(b) it is authorised in writing, signed by the clerk, to fish within the district; and

(c) the vessel remains in the same ownership as at the date of this byelaw coming into force.

3. Any person who wishes to be registered as a user of a vessel as in 2 (ii)(a) above shall, within 60 days of the press advertisement of this byelaw, inform the Clerk to the Committee of his wish in writing.

4. The overall length of a vessel shall be defined as the distance in a straight line between the foremost point of the bow and the aftermost part of the stern. The bow is to be taken to include the watertight hull structure, forecastle, stem and forward bulkhead if fitted all permanent fixtures thereto, but to exclude bowsprits and safety rails. The stern is to be taken to include the watertight hull structure, transom, poop, trawl ramp and bulwark, all permanent fixtures thereto but to exclude safety rails, bumkins, propulsion machinery, rudders and steering gear, and divers ladders and platforms.

5. Definitions.

For the purpose of this byelaw - "ownership" shall be determined by reference to the vessel's Certificate of Registry of a British Fishing Vessel and held on the Department of Transport's registry at the Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen at Cardiff.

Vessel Length map

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Brighton Rd
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