IFCA Patrols To Help Protect Scilly’s Fishing Status

More checks on fishing vessels within our islands’ waters could strengthen the case for Scilly to avoid any future plans for blanket fishing bans here.

Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority Officer Doug Holt says there’s been little data on the numbers of fishermen working around Scilly until now.

Previously, the Cornish vessel the St Piran has been over, but inspections have been limited to a couple each year.

As our waters have special conservation status, there’s always the chance that fishing restrictions could be imposed, but Doug say recent surveys will prove how important the sea around Scilly is to livelihoods and the records provide a strong argument for keeping things as they are. It also shows we’re looking after our own affairs, should Government cutbacks suggest a merger with Cornwall.

Last weekend Doug joined forces with the Marine Management Organisation and HMS Severn to check fishing vessels out beyond the Bishop Rock, well beyond Scilly’s 6-mile jurisdiction.

Doug says the weather meant there weren’t many boats on the water but the ones they boarded were all working completely within the law.

Doug says getting to know the fishermen working our waters, and building a relationship with them, is all part of the IFCA role.