The coastal waters of the Isle of Wight, Hampshire and Dorset are ecologically rich habitats, providing valuable nursery and refuge areas for a variety of fish species. The estuaries in these areas form an important migratory route for salmon and sea trout. Our harbours, estuaries and piers are also important places for people, offering a place to enjoy recreation, work or provide a source of income. In particular, these areas hold great significance for recreational and commercial fisheries.
Net fishing is an activity that has been carried out by fishers in our local coastal waters for generations. Net types and fishing methods have evolved over time to reflect the target species, local environment, technological advances and the people using them. At the same time, the impacts of developing fishing methods on the marine environment and fish populations have also changed. It is important to take the opportunity to consider how the management of these activities can be further improved to better support these habitats, the species and human users, promoting positive economic and social benefits for coastal communities.
Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) is undertaking a review of net fishing management arrangements for estuary, harbour and pier areas in the district. It is the Authority’s objective to review and, if necessary, develop netting regulations to:
i. Support the use of estuaries and harbours by bass and other fish populations as nursery and refuge areas;
ii. Provide protection to migratory fish species as they transit through our estuaries and harbours; and, within these areas;
iii. Balance the social and economic benefits and different needs of users in exploiting the fishery.
A public consultation is underway to seek views on a series of proposed measures. The closing date for this consultation is Friday, 7th December 2018. The consultation document, supporting evidence and background papers are available on the Authority’s website southern-ifca.gov.uk. A series of stakeholder drop-in sessions will be held during November 2018 at locations throughout the district and details of these events will be advertised on the Southern IFCA website shortly.