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The following is a summary of the Kent and Essex IFCA Byelaws

 

Introduction

These byelaws apply to any part of the district within a line drawn on the seaward side of baselines 6 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea adjacent to the United Kingdom is measured.  For the purpose of this paragraph “the baselines” means the baselines as they existed at 25 January 1983 in accordance with the Territorial Waters Order in Council 1964 (1965 III p.6452A) as amended by the Territorial Waters (Amendment) Order in Council 1979 (1979 II p.2866)”.

The district extends from the boundary of the administrative County of Essex in the River Stour to the old lighthouse at Dungeness in the County of Kent, the precise limits of which are defined in the Kent and Essex Sea Fisheries District (Variation) Order 1980 made by the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on 25 November 1980, the Sea Fisheries Districts (Variation) Order 1993 made by the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on 19th October 1993, and the Kent and Essex Sea Fisheries District (Variation) Order 1995 made by the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on 23rd May 1995.

Under the Sea Fisheries Regulation Act 1966, as amended by the Fishery Limits Act 1976, any person who contravenes these byelaws or where any vessel is used for fishing in any manner constituting a contravention of these byelaws, that person, or the skipper and the owner of the vessel concerned shall, subject as therein mentioned, each be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine.   In addition, the court by which a person is convicted of an offence, as above-mentioned, may also order the forfeiture of any net or other fishing gear used in committing the offence any fish in respect of which the offence was committed.

The provisions of these byelaws are without prejudice to any historic right of Several Fishery, Act of Parliament Royal Charter or other rights that exist within the District as referred to in Section 6 of the Sea Fisheries Regulation Act 1966.

 

PETER SASS
Kent and Essex Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority

VESSEL SIZE AND ENGINE POWER

No person shall use within the District in fishing for sea fish or shellfish any net or any other instrument except:-

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

(ii)      for scientific purposes or for stocking or breeding purposes with the consent of the Committee (IFCA).

For the purpose of this byelaw, engine power shall be defined as the combined total of the maximum continuous power which can be obtained at the flywheel 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.

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

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.

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.

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.

The length overall shall be measured in metres with an accuracy of two decimal places.

This byelaw shall not apply in that part of the district which lies between a line drawn 3 nautical miles to seaward from baselines and a line drawn 6 nautical miles to seaward from baselines, to any vessel exceeding 17 metres overall length or 221 Kw engine power, or both, provided that the owner has prior to the confirmation of this byelaw fished in the said part of the district, and who has applied in writing for registration with the ICFA within six months from the date of advertisement of this byelaw and subsequently been entered onto the register and as long as the vessel remains in the same ownership.

For the purpose of this byelaw “owner” means the owner as recorded in the register held by the registrar of shipping for the country of the vessel.

PLACING AND USE OF FIXED ENGINES

No fixed engines shall be placed or used for the taking of sea fish in that part of the District enclosed within a radius of 1.5 nautical miles of the chimney of Richborough Power Station in the County of Kent situated at 510 18.56N, 010 20.85E, during the months of April to September inclusive in any year.

No fixed engine shall be placed for used for the taking of sea fish in any part of the district West of a line drawn from London Stone near the entrance to Yantlet Creek, in the County of Kent, to Crow Stone, otherwise the City Stone of Westcliff in the County of Essex, and continued on either side of the mean high water mark.

No fixed net shall be left un-cleared for a period of more than 30 hours, although an exemption will be granted in the case of bad weather, illness of the crew or engine failure.   In the event of anticipated non-compliance, the Clerk of the committee the Chief Fishery Officer or Skipper of the Committee’s patrol vessel must be informed accordingly.

Each fleet of nets or, if set alone, each individual net shall be marked by a dahn buoy at each end, such dahn buoy extending at least 1.5 metres above the surface of the water when the pole is in vertical position and carrying a flag measure at least 30 centimetres by 30 centimetres; all dahn buoys to be clearly marked wiht5 the name and address of the owner of the net, or the fishing vessel registration number of the vessel responsible for setting the net;

No net or fleet of nets shall exceed 1,000 metres in length.

For the purpose of this byelaw a fleet of nets is defined as a continuous line or group of nets, whether fixed together or not, set by one person or vessel.   The length of a net or fleet of nets shall be taken to be the distance between the dahn buoys marking each end of the net or fleet of nets as required under this byelaw.

Fishermen’s attention is drawn to the fact that various District Councils have their own byelaws relating to bathing beaches.

 

DREDGING FOR SCALLOPS

The local fisheries committee for the Kent and Essex Sea Fisheries District (“the committee”) in exercise of powers conferred by Section 5 of the Sea Fisheries Regulation Act 1966, make the following byelaw:

When dredging for scallops (Pecten maximum) in any part of the District no more than 12 dredges may be towed at any time.   All dredges must be fitted with a functioning, operation and moveable spring loaded tooth bar and its frame must not exceed 85cms in width in any part.

Dredging for Mussels

(a)      No person or vessel shall tow or operate any dredge or dredges with an aggregate width of blade, front edge or opening that exceeds 2 metres when fishing for or retaining any mussels.   This shall not apply when a person is operating under consent granted for the collection of seed mussels under the Committee’s (IFCA) Mussel Minimum Size byelaw.

(b)      Dredges not being towed or operated, that exceed the requirement above shall be disconnected from their towing or hauling wires or ropes, lashed and stowed in a manner that they cannot easily be deployed.

(c)      No person shall continue to operate any dredge or fishing instrument for the purpose of taking mussels if representative samples taken from the catch on board contain 10% or more of mussels, by weight, with visible damage to their shells or the catch contains 5% or more, by weight, of gravel, stones or other surface material or substrate of the mussel bed other than dead shells.

(d)      A representative sample will consist of no less than 3 samples of 10 Kilograms of mussels taken different parts of the catch.

The requirements of this byelaw shall not apply when the total catch of mussels retained onboard weighs less than 10 Kilograms or when the quantity of mussels weighs less than 5% of total catch of other species.

 

LIMITATION ON QUANTITIES OF MUSSELS THAT MAY BE REMOVED

No person shall operate a vessel that, during the course of a 24 hour period, removes more than 13.6 cubic metres of mussels from any part of the District.

No mussels shall be carried on board at the time of commencing fishing.

For the purpose of calculating the quantity of mussels, in cubic meters, no allowance shall be made in respect of the quantity of any dead shell, sand, and other species or debris mixed with the catch.

The requirement of this byelaw shall not apply to persons operating under an authorisation by the Committee (IFCA) for the collection of seed mussels under the Mussel Minimum Size Byelaw.

The provisions of this byelaw are without prejudice to any historic right of Several Fishery, Act of Parliament, Royal Charter or other rights that exist within the District as referred to in Section 6(a) of the Sea Fisheries Regulation Act 1966 except the private fishery rights held by the Southend-on-Sea Borough Council.

MUSSEL MINIMUM SIZE

(a)      No person shall, without the written consent of the IFCA, remove from the fishery mussels of which more than 10% by weight, of a representative sample, will pass through a space 18mm in width.   A representative sample will consist of no less than 3 samples of 10 kilograms of mussels taken from different parts of the catch.   Catches of mussels that do not meet this criteria, and also rejected small mussels, must be returned immediately to the seabed.

(b)      collection of seed mussels – The Committee (IFCA) will give written consent to all applicants to allow the removal of mussels below the minimum size from a specified area and during a specified period of time provided that:

(i)       Representative samples taken from the area show that the size of seed  mussels within that area are above a modal size of 15mm shell length or that the seed mussels are at a population density above 10,000 per square metre that they are likely to suffer from stunted growth or high mortality.

For the purpose of this section of the byelaw a representative sample will consist of at least 10 samples of 3kg taken from different parts of the mussel bed; and

(ii)      Account has been taken of any scientific advice it has received in relation to the best conditions for the sustainability of the fishery and the results of any relevant surveys

Application for consent will be processed as quickly as is possible taking into account the need for any harvesting of seed mussels to rake place prior to likely high levels of predation by starfish.

Modal size will be most frequently occurring shell length measurement within a sample.

Written consent granted by the IFCA shall be carried at all times when operating under this authorisation.

The provisions of this byelaw are without prejudice to any historic right of Several Fishery, Act of Parliament, Royal Charter or other rights that exist within the District as referred to in Section 6(a) of the Sea Fisheries Regulation Act 1966 except the private fishery rights held by the Southend-on-Sea Borough Council.

 

OYSTER CULTCH

No person shall remove any oyster cultch from any oyster ground.

For the purpose of this byelaw “cultch” shall be taken to mean the shells of dead molluscs and any other material suitable for the reception of oyster spat.

 

OYSTERS

(a)      No person or vessel shall tow or operate any dredge or dredges with an aggregate width of blade or front edge that exceeds 4 metres when dredging or fishing for oysters in any public fishery within the district.

(b)      No person shall remove from any public fishery within the IFCA any oysters that will pass through a circular ring of 7.0 centimetres in internal diameter.   This requirement shall not apply to the pacific rock oyster, (Crassostrea gigas).

The provisions of this byelaw are without prejudice to any historic right of Several Fishery, Act of Parliament, Royal Charter or other rights that exist within the District as referred to in Section 6(a) of the Sea Fisheries Regulation Act 1966 except the private fishery rights held by the Southend-on-Sea Borough Council.

 

SHELLFISH BEDS BYELAW

Where, in the opinion of the Committee (IFCA), in any fishery, any bed or part of a bed of shellfish within the District is so severely depleted as to require temporary closure in order to ensure recovery, or any bed or part of a bed contains mainly immature shellfish which in the interest of the protection and development of the fishery ought not to be disturbed for the time being, or any bed of transplanted shellfish ought not to be fished until it has become established, and where the bed, or part of thereof, has been clearly defined in notices displayed in the vicinity prohibiting the removal or disturbance of the shellfish, no person shall, without the written authority of the Committee (IFCA), while the bed or part thereof is so defined, take away or otherwise disturb any shellfish therein.

Application for authority from the Committee (IFCA) to take away or otherwise disturb any shellfish in a bed which is temporarily closed, in pursuance of the byelaw specified above, should be made in writing to the undersigned.

PROHIBITION ON TAKING NATIVE OYSTERS

NOTICE OF CLOSURE

The Kent & Essex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority has implemented a closure under its Shellfish Beds byelaw to protect remaining, severely depleted, stocks of Native Oysters (Ostrea Edullis) within the area known as the Blackwater, Crouch, Roach and Colne Marine Conservation Zone . This temporary closure is put in place to prevent further decline in the stock and ensure recovery.

This closure will commence on 31 May 2015 until 31 May 2018.

Under this byelaw, application for authority to undertake stock surveys, cleaning of culch and stock management otherwise disturb any shellfish in a bed which is temporarily closed, in pursuance of the byelaw specified above, should be made in writing to the Authority.

The provisions of this byelaw are without prejudice to any historic right of Several Fishery, Act of Parliament, Royal Charter or other rights that exist within the district as referred to in Section 6 of the Sea Fisheries Regulation Act 1966.

Under the KEIFCA Shellfish Beds Byelaw it is prohibited during the 3 year period 31 May 2015 to 31 May 2018 to remove or disturb any Native Oyster (ostrea edulis), without the consent of the Authority, from within the area known as the Blackwater, Crouch, Roach and Colne Marine Conservation Zone defined by a line drawn from a position on the coast at Clacton 51º47’.223N 01º09’.325E, connecting through points at: 51º43’.853N 01°09’.178E, 51º41’.969N 01º08’.367E, 51º40’.021N 01º05’.053E to Foulness Point at position 51º37’.206N 00º57’.475E and thence following the line of mean high water along the Essex coastline and across the entrance to Havengore creek returning to a position on the coast at Clacton 51º47’.223N 01º09’.325Eotice of Closure

 

 

CLOSURE OF BEDS – BIVALVE MOLLUSCS

This byelaw shall apply to all bivalve molluscs with the exception of native oysters (Ostrea edulis).

(a)      The Committee (IFCA) shall, for the purpose of fishery management and control of exploitation, implement a closure of bivalve mollusc beds provided that it has taken into account:

• Consultations with relevant persons or bodies which represent those fishermen exploiting the fishery within the district; and

• The advice for such action from fishery scientists who appear to them to be suitably qualified; or

• The advice of Natural England

(b)      A closure of beds under this byelaw will make it an offence for any person to removed, take or disturb any specified species of bivalve molluscs from within any area and during any period of time specified by the Committee (IFCA).

(c)      Where any bed or part of a bed is closed under this byelaw, the Committee (IFCA) will cause notices to

be displayed in the vicinity of the specified area clearly defining the area and period of time to which the measures will apply.   Copies will also be provided to persons or bodies appearing to represent those fishermen engaging in the fishery within the district.

The provisions of this byelaw are without prejudice to any historic right of Several Fishery, Act of Parliament, Royal Charter or other rights that exist within the District as referred to in Section 6(a) of the Sea Fisheries Regulation Act 1966 except the private fishery rights held by the Southend-on-Sea Borough Council.

 

DREDGING FOR BIVALVE MOLLUSCS OTHER THAN COCKLES, OYSTERS, MUSSELS AND SCALLOPS

(a)      No person shall continue to operate any dredge or fishing instrument for the purpose of taking any species of bivalve molluscs other than cockles (Cerastoderma edule), oysters (Ostrea edulis), mussels (Mytilus edulis) and scallops (Pecten maximus) if representative samples taken from the catch, including any undersized bivalve molluscs, contain 10% or more of bivalve molluscs, by weight, with visible damage to their shells.

A representative sample will consist of the full contents of the dredge or if greater than 30 kilograms no less than 3 samples of 10 kilograms of shellfish taken from different parts of the catch.

Catches of shellfish that do not meet this criteria must be returned immediately to the seabed.

The provisions of this byelaw are without prejudice to any historic right of Several Fishery, Act of Parliament, Royal Charter or other rights that exist within the District as referred to in Section 6(a) of the Sea Fisheries Regulation Act 1966 except the private fishery rights held by the Southend-on-Sea Borough Council.

 

RE-DEPOSIT OF SHELLFISH

Any person who takes any shellfish, the removal of which is prohibited by any byelaw in force in the District, or the possession of which is prohibited by any regulation of the European Communities, Act of Parliament or Statutory Instrument, shall forthwith re-deposit the same, without injury, as near as possible to the place from which it was taken.

CLOSURE OF BEDS BYELAW

The Kent & Essex IFCA gives notice that the whole of its District, outside the area of the Thames Estuary Cockle Fishery Order 1994, will be closed to fishing for cockles for the period commencing at midnight on 31 December 2014 and ending at midnight on 31 December 2015 with the exception of specified periods in specified areas.

A list of specified periods and areas, authorising the taking of cockles, subject to the conditions of the byelaws, will be provided to each permit holder.

PETER SASS

Clerk to the Kent & Essex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority

PARLOUR POTS – CRABS AND LOBSTERS

No person shall use or cause to be used for the purpose of fishing for sea fish any parlour pot of whatever material constructed, unless it has at least one unobstructed escape gap per parlour.   Any escape gap must:

(a)      be located in the exterior wall of the parlour(s)

(b)      be so designed and constructed and of sufficient size that there may be easily passed through it a rigid box shaped gauge which measures 84 millimetres wide by 46 millimetres high and 100 millimetres long, and

(c )     be fitted in such a way that the longitudinal axis is parallel to the base of the pot and is located in the lowest part of the parlour(s) as is practically possible and in all cases must be within 100 millimetres of the base

No persons shall use or cause to be used for the purposes of fishing for sea fish any parlour pot unless the door, hinge or clasp is fitted to the door of each bait parlour is fitted to the pot by rubber, metal or similar natural material that will, under normal working conditions require replacement annually.

MARKING POTS AND TRAPS

Marker buoys and similar objects floating on the surface and intended to indicate the location of fishing pots and traps shall be clearly marked at all times with the letters and numbers of the vessel to which they belong or the owners name and address.

It shall be a defence for a person charged with an offence under this byelaw founded on a contravention of, or failure to comply with, any provision of article 1 or 2 of Commission Regulation No. 1381/87 to prove that he took all reasonable precautions and exercised all due diligence to avoid the commission of the offence.

BERRIED LOBSTERS

No person shall remove from a fishery any berried lobster

WINKLES

No person shall fish for or take periwinkles or winkles otherwise than by hand picking

HERRING FISHING

No person shall use when fishing for herring within that part of the Local Fisheries District which is situated in the Thames Estuary West of a line 01°20’E, a drift net with a mesh of less than 54 millimetres or a trawl net with a mesh of less than 50 millimetres as measured in accordance with Commission Regulation (EEC) 2108/84.

No person shall remove herring from within that part of the Committee (IFCA District which is situated within the Thames Estuary west of a line longitude 1°10’E after the date determined annually as the closure date of the Thames Estuary Herring Fishery (when the total allowable catch for that fishery has been taken up).

No person shall operate a trawl, dredge or anchored net over or on the Eagle Bank off the coast of the County of Essex and/or Studhill (known also as the Herring Bank) off the coast of the County of Kent during the period 1st February to 1st June in any year.

No person or persons shall use when fishing for herring from a vessel any drift net or group of drift nets exceeding 250 metres in length in the areas defined as the Eagle Bank and Studhill (also known as the Herring Bank) between 1 March and 30 June.

For the purpose of this byelaw, the Eagle Bank is defined as the area enclosed by a straight line drawn from a point 51°44.683’N, 01°04.417’E to a point 51°43.85’N,     01°05.17’E, thence to a point 51°44.1’N, 01°03.917’E, thence to a point 51°44.58’N, 01°02.67’E, and finally to a point 51°44.683’N, 01°04.417’E. Studhill (known also as the Herring Bank) is defined as the area enclosed within a radius of one nautical mile from the end of the landing stage at Herne Bay pier, situated at latitude 51°23’N and longitude 1°07’E.

 

MINIMUM FISH SIZE FOR CERTAIN SPECIES: SCALLOPS, GREY MULLET, SKATES AND RAYS

The local fisheries committee for the Kent and Essex Sea Fisheries District (“the committee”) in exercise of powers conferred by Section 5 of the Sea Fisheries Regulation Act 1966, makes the following byelaw:

No person shall take from the fishery in any part of the District any of the under mentioned species that measure less than the sizes prescribed below:-

(i)       Grey mullet, 30cm in length

(ii)      Skate and rays, 40cm being the measurement taken from the extreme tips of the wings: when winged no wing shall measure less than 19cm in a straight line from the tip of the wing to the centre of the cut edge when detached from the body

(iii)     Scallops (Pecten maximus), 11 centimetres measured across the longest part of the shell

The above byelaw has now been amended as follows from 30 November 2015:

(2) After the third paragraph insert—

“This byelaw does not apply where the landing obligation under Article 15 of Regulation (EU) 1380/2013 requires the fish to be landed.”.

For full details of the amendments to this byelaw click here

 

 

BASS NURSERY AREA AT BRADWELL

No person shall remove any seafish from that part of the District around Bradwell Power Station which is covered by the Bass (Specified Areas) (Prohibition of Fishing) Order 1990, SI 1990 No. 1156, during the period 1st May and 31st October inclusive in any year, except for scientific purposes with the written permission of the Committee (IFCA).

For the purpose of this byelaw, the Bass Nursery Area is the area between the baffle wall and the Bradwell foreshore enclosed by lines drawn perpendicular (1450 true) from the North East and South West corners of the baffle wall to the shore.

 

SMALL MESH TRAWL NETS

The use by a vessel or vessels in the case of boats engaged in pair trawling of any demersal trawl net of a mesh size of less than 75mm may be prohibited if, in the opinion of the Committee (IFCA):-

(i)                     the use of such nets in any part of the District is damaging to immature fish stocks which, in the interests of the protection and development of any fishery, ought not to be disturbed by such gear for the time being; or

(ii)                    the discard of fish in compliance with Bycatch Regulations has a damaging effect on any    other fishery within the District, and prohibitions shall be notified in notices displayed at ports throughout the District, or, if the display of such notices is not practicable, the notice shall be published in a weekly newspaper circulating in the District.

For the purposes of this byelaw a demersal trawl shall mean any trawl designed to fish on the sea bed any part of which (including weights, wires, rope and net) is intended to be in contact with the sea bed during fishing operations.