Scilly’s IFCA To Introduce New Bylaws

The local Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority, or IFCA, is looking to introduce three new maritime bylaws in Scilly.

Maritime Officer, Steve Watt, says the new Marine Bill allows IFCAs to make bylaws and he’s just received the necessary information from Defra on how to go about this.

Steve says they want to create a bylaw that bans scallop dredging within 6 miles of the islands. At the moment, boats with up to two dredgers each side can fish to within 4 miles and Steve says the new law will conserve stocks and prevent damage to the seabed.

He says it has the backing of Natural England.

The second bylaw will ban the landing of so-called ‘berried’ lobsters, or hen lobsters with eggs under their tails.

Steve says there has been a voluntary ban in place in Scilly but it’s already a bylaw in Cornwall, where it’s illegal to sell berried lobsters at market. He says this should help to conserve stocks of lobster around Scilly.

There will also be a revision of the Methods of Fishing bylaw.

Steve says this has become essential due to a change in the boundaries by the National Hydrographic Office. The boundary used to go 6 nautical miles around Seven Stones, but the NHO has now put the boundary through the rocks, as they claim they are not a ‘drying height.’

Steve says they are disputing this redrawing of the boundary, but in the meantime, the Methods of Fishing bylaw is technically illegal and “wouldn’t stand up in a court of law.”

Other bylaws that may be introduced in the future under the new powers include a commercial pot limit for shellfish and possibly a permit for unlicensed fishermen.


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