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Area D Byelaws

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Introduction

These byelaws apply to the Upper Thames Estuary part of the district previously regulated by the Environment Agency.

The Environment Agency, in exercise of its powers under Sections 5, 5A and 18(1) of the Sea Fisheries Regulation Act 1966 and all other powers enabling it in that behalf, makes the following Byelaws, numbers 1-14.

Nothing in Byelaws 1-14 shall restrict, prevent, interfere with or prejudice:

(a)          any statutory rights or powers which are now or hereafter may be vested in or exercised by the Port of London Authority and the London Port Health Authority, or

(b) any Dredging Works.

Byelaw 1 - Application of Byelaws 2-14

Byelaws 2-14 shall apply to the Area defined in this byelaw in respect of which the Agency has the powers of a local fisheries committee in the upper Thames estuary: 

“The Area” means those tidal waters lying between a line at Mucking from Waterman’s Stone at Lower Hope Point in the County of Kent (national grid reference TQ 714 789) to the south eastern point of the south bank at the mouth of Mucking Creek in the County of Essex (national grid reference TQ 699 806) upstream to a line crossing the Thames at a stone pillar known as Boundary Stone (national grid reference TQ 163 719) on the Surrey bank of the river to the nearest point of mean high water level on the Middlesex bank as specified in the Kent and Essex Sea Fisheries District (Variation) Order 1995.

 

Byelaw 2 - Interpretation

a) For the purposes of Byelaws, numbers 1-14, unless the context otherwise requires:- 

“The Agency” means the Environment Agency;

“Berried Lobster” means a female lobster carrying a mass of eggs or roe;

“Crustacean” means any crab, lobster, shrimp, prawn or other edible members of the taxonomic order Decapoda; 

“Derated” means an engine that has had its power output reduced or restricted; 

”Drag or Seine Nets” means any net that is pulled around behind a boat to encircle fish and on immediate retrieval the fish are trapped within the surrounding net; 

“Dredging Works” means those activities carried out or licensed by the Port of London Authority pursuant to sections 60 or 73 of the Port of London Act 1968; 

“for scientific purposes” includes, but is not limited to, fishing for or the taking of sea fish or shellfish by persons undertaking environmental monitoring activities or conducting fish surveys; 

“Gill or Drift Nets” means any net that is deployed in a line and which with the aid of floats on its upper edge and weights on its lower edge is left to hang in the water and trap fish as they swim into it; 

“Thames Barrier” means the flood defence structure spanning the 520 m. wide Woolwich reach (TQ 415 793 – 414 798).

b) Except where expressly stated or where the context otherwise requires all words and expressions used in Byelaws 2-14 shall have the meaning assigned to it by the Sea Fisheries Regulation Act 1966.

 

Byelaw 3 - Vessel Size and Engine Power

a) Any person who uses in fishing for sea fish any net or any other instrument except that used:-

i) from the beach; or

ii) from the bank; or

iii) from a boat, whose overall length does not exceed 17 metres and whose total engine power when using trawl nets or other towed fishing instruments does not exceed 221 kilowatts or, in the case of derated engines, does not exceed 243 kilowatts before derating; or

iv) for scientific purposes or for stocking or breeding purposes, with the prior written consent of the Agency,

shall be guilty of an offence.

b) For the purposes of this byelaw, engine power shall be defined as the combined total of the maximum continuous power which can be obtained at the fly wheel of all engines which can, by mechanical, electrical, hydraulic or other means, be applied to vessel propulsion, as advised by the engine manufacturers under normal running conditions when supplied new.

c) No deduction shall be made in respect of any auxiliary machinery driven by the engine.

d) For the purposes of this byelaw, the length of a vessel shall be the length overall, defined as the distance in a straight line between the foremost point of the bow and the aftermost point of the stern.

e) The bow is to be taken to include the watertight hull structure, forecastle, stem and forward bulwark, if fitted to exclude bowsprits and safety rails.

f) The stern is to be taken to include the watertight hull structure, transom, poop, trawl ramp and bulwark, but to exclude safety rails, bumkins, propulsion machinery, rudders and steering gear and divers’ ladders and platforms.

 

Byelaw 4 - Shellfish

a) Any person who fishes for or takes any shellfish without the prior written consent of the Agency (such consent shall be given for scientific purposes only) shall be guilty of an offence.

b) For the purposes of this byelaw shellfish shall not include Crustaceans.

c) This byelaw shall not apply to shellfish that have been hand-picked from upstream of a line from Coalhouse Fort on the Essex shore (TQ 691 768) to Cliffe Fort on the Kent shore (TQ 707 767).

 

Byelaw 5 - Crustacean potting and Berried Lobsters

a) Any person who sets any trap or pot for Crustaceans without the prior written consent of the Agency shall be guilty of an offence. Such consent shall only be granted for a trap or pot which is suitable for taking Crustaceans and not any other species of fish.

b) Any person who fishes for or takes any berried lobster shall be guilty of an offence.

Byelaw 6 - Gill or Drift nets

a) Any person who uses a Gill or Drift Net which exceeds 200 metres in total length or two or more such nets in combination which exceed 200 metres in total length shall be guilty of an offence.

b) Any person who leaves a Gill or Drift Net unattended in the water shall be guilty of an offence.

 

Byelaw 7 - Drag or Seine nets

a) Any person who uses a Drag or Seine Net with an overall length measured along the headrope of more than 200 metres shall be guilty of an offence.

b) Any person who uses a Drag or Seine Net with a depth of more than 4 metres shall be guilty of an offence.

Byelaw 8 - return of shad

a) Any person who fishes for or takes allis shad (alosa alosa) or twaite shad (alosa fallax) shall be guilty of an offence.

b) This byelaw shall not apply to any person who takes any allis shad or twaite shad unintentionally and at once returns the same to the water with as little injury as possible.

Byelaw 9 - Fixed Nets

a) Any person who attaches any net or device for the purposes of fishing for sea fish to:-

i) the bank,

ii) river bed,

iii) any anchored or moored boat,

shall be guilty of an offence unless they have the prior written consent of the Agency (such consent shall be given for scientific purposes only).

b) Any person who makes any net stationary for the purposes of fishing for sea fish in any way shall be guilty of an offence unless they have the prior written consent of the Agency (such consent shall be given for scientific purposes only).

 

Byelaw 10 - Trawl nets

Any person who in fishing for sea fish uses a trawl net of any description upstream of a line from Coalhouse Fort on the Essex shore (TQ 691 768) to Cliffe Fort on the Kent shore (TQ 707 767) shall be guilty of an offence unless they have the prior written consent of the Agency (such consent shall be given for scientific purposes only).

 

Byelaw 11 - Fishing in Creeks

a) Any person who fishes for or takes sea fish, other than by rod and line, upstream of a line drawn between grid reference TQ 540 781 and TQ 541 780 across the mouth of Dartford Creek and upstream of a line drawn between grid reference TQ 455 816 and TQ 457 818 across the mouth of Barking Creek shall be guilty of an offence unless they have the prior written consent of the Agency (such consent shall be given for scientific purposes only).

b) Any person who places, at the mouth of Barking Creek or Dartford Creek, any net or device which might catch or impede the movement of sea fish shall be guilty of an offence unless they have the prior written consent of the Agency or consent under Byelaw 4 of the Agency’s National Eel Byelaws.

 

Byelaw 12 - Smelt Close Season

Any person who fishes for or takes smelt (osmerus eperlanus) between 1st day of March and 27th day of July inclusive shall be guilty of an offence unless they have the prior written consent of the Agency (such consent shall be given for scientific purposes only).

 

Byelaw 13 - River Upstream of Thames Barrier

Any person who fishes for or takes any sea fish in the Thames upstream of the Thames Barrier, other than by rod and line, shall be guilty of an offence unless they have the prior written consent of the Agency (such consent shall be given for scientific purposes only).

 

 

Byelaw 14 - minimum size of Grey Mullet

a) Any person who fishes for or takes any grey mullet (family mugilidae) of a size less than 30cm as measured from the tip of the snout to the end of the tail fin, shall be guilty of an offence.

b) This byelaw shall not apply to any person who takes any undersized grey mullet unintentionally and at once returns the same to the water with as little injury as possible

EXPLANATORY NOTES

  1. Fisheries Byelaws.

It should be noted that these fisheries byelaws extend throughout the Area defined in byelaw 1.

  1. Purpose of the Byelaws

Generally, the Byelaws are designed to regulate fishing for sea fish and to protect the sea fishery (especially the nursery area for species such as dover sole) in the Upper Thames Estuary from near the tidal limit (Teddington Weir) to Mucking. Downstream of that point the Kent and Essex Sea Fishery Committee exercises jurisdiction over the sea fishery.

 

Byelaw 1 defines the area within which Byelaws 2-14 apply.

Byelaw 2 defines the terms used in Byelaws 1-14.

Byelaw 3 puts limits on the size of vessels and the size of engines used in them. The limits mirror those of the adjoining Kent and Essex Sea Fisheries Byelaws

Byelaw 4 prevents the fishing for shellfish other than by hand picking.

Byelaw 5 prevents the potting or trapping of crustaceans. However, it allows potting or trapping with prior written consent and enables a commercial fishery to be developed in the future, should the viability of such a fishery be established.

Byelaw 6 at part (a) prevents the use of drift or gill nets exceeding 200 metres whilst part (b) prevents any gill or drift net from being left unattended.

Byelaw 7 reduces the size of drag and seine nets that are allowed in the area subject to the byelaws.

Byelaw 8 protects shad.

Byelaw 9 prevents the use of unattended nets.

Byelaw 10 prevents the use of trawls and dredges.

Byelaw 11 prevents fishing in Barking and Dartford Creeks.

Byelaw 12 prevents the fishing for smelt when they are migrating up-river to spawn.

Byelaw 13 limits fishing above the Thames barrier to the use of rod and line.

Byelaw 14 gives young mullet protection.

 

  1. Jurisdiction of Byelaws

These Byelaws apply to the Thames from its upstream limit of the Boundary Stone which is about 260 meters downstream of Teddington Weir to its downstream limit being a line running from Mucking Creek on the north bank of the Thames to Lower Hope Point on the south bank of the Thames.

Applying for a consent

Anyone wishing to apply for a consent under these Byelaws should contact The Environment Manager South East, Environment Agency, Rivers House, Belvedere Road, Abbeywood, London SE2 9AQ.