Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (IFCAs) updates for the Inshore Fishing Community

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During this difficult and unprecedented challenge which everyone faces during the currency of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, NIFCA has been working on continuing to provide as full as possible service to maintain the delivery of our remit to manage a sustainable marine environment and inshore fisheries.

Whilst making the good health and welfare of our officers and staff the paramount consideration, planning has been undertaken to ensure our continued functionality in the district, both at shore and at sea, including continuing to work with our partner agencies and backed up by an adaptive and effective administration system.

Increased working from home in the present situation is inevitable and being undertaken by NIFCA personnel, although we will continue to cover telephone calls which will be answered and responded to as closely as possible to the norm. Email traffic will also continue, as we aim to maintain the high standards of communication which are so important to ourselves and stakeholders and please look out for news on our website and in other social media.

Although our office regrettably has to be closed to visitors for the foreseeable future, NIFCA remains “open for business” and please don’t hesitate to contact us by telephone or email if you wish to discuss anything with us.

Finally, and most importantly, best wishes to everyone reading this message from myself and all at NIFCA.

Mike Hardy


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THE NIFCA Office at 8 Ennerdale Road, Blyth, will now be closed from today, the 19th March until further notice.

Normal service will otherwise be maintained as much as possible and we can be contacted by email to or telephone 01670 797676 and information will continue to be posted on our NIFCA website.

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The Maritime & Coastguard Agency have created guidance for Coronavirus (COVID-19) in regards to survey and certification of UK vessels. The guide can be downloaded HERE.

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In a prosecution brought by Northumberland Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authority (NIFCA) at North Tyneside Magistrates Court, Mr Michael Bye, a Recreational Shellfish Permit holder from Ashington pleaded guilty (by post) to breaching 2 NIFCA Byelaws:- Byelaw 4 ‘Crustacea & Molluscs Permitting & Pot Limitation’ and Byelaw 5 ‘Marking of Fishing Gear & Keep Boxes’.

The NIFCA barrister Vanessa Crossley, told the court that on 3rd September 2019 whilst carrying out a routine sea patrol in the vicinity of Cresswell Village, NIFCA Officers spotted a small single white marker buoy with no identification markers visible, contrary to NIFCA Byelaw 5 ‘Marking of Fishing Gear & Keep Boxes’. The Officers proceeded to haul the buoy and attached pots onboard the Authority’s Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) TT St Aidan. Once all 5 pots were onboard and inspected it was found that 3 of the pots did not have any ‘Escape Gaps’ fitted contrary to NIFCA Byelaw 4 ‘Crustacea & Molluscs Permitting & Pot Limitation’ and the remaining 2 pots had Escape Gaps fitted but purposely obstructed. Officers were able to identify who the pots belonged to by the Recreational Shellfish Tags attached.

Mr. Bye was contacted and invited to attend an interview on 5th September 2019 at the NIFCA Office, Ennerdale Road, Blyth, where an interview was carried out by NIFCA Officers. Mr. Bye admitted that he had no identification markers on his surface marker and that 3 of his pots had no escape gaps and the further 2 pots were obstructed.

Northumberland IFCAs Chief IFCO Al Browne said “Northumberland IFCA and its officers take the breach of any NIFCA byelaw very seriously, particularly one such as this which is designed to conserve and protect fishing stocks for current and future generations of fishers, as well as for the benefit of the marine environment. In this case, because the defendant ignored the advice he had received when he had attended the NIFCA Office to purchase his 2019 Recreational Shellfish Permit and the fact that he had wilfully obstructed escape gaps which he had fitted, preventing immature, small lobsters and specified shellfish from escaping capture, the Authority felt that when Mr Bye refused a Financial Administrative Penalty which he was offered, the matter was so serious that it had to be dealt with by the Magistrates Court.

Mr Bye was found guilty in his absence by the Magistrates and fined a total of £750 for both offences plus NIFCA costs of £800, legal costs of £675 and victim surcharge of £75 making a total of £2,300. Hopefully this will send out a very clear message as to how seriously an offence of this nature is viewed”.

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Sea Anglers Wanted for Government Project to Help Sustainable Fisheries

A new call is being made for sea anglers to contribute to an important project that will help the management of marine fisheries.

The Sea Angling Diary Project is funded by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the devolved governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It involves around 2,000 sea anglers who get a free mobile app to record their fishing activity and catches.

Data collected on activity, catches and spending helps inform decision making on the sustainable management of marine stocks and the development of sea angling.

Now in its fifth year, it provides significant benefits to those that take part. Sea anglers get a free Sea Angling Diary Mobile App and online tool that allows easy recording of fishing trips, locations, methods and catches. They also get a catch recording kit including a fish ID booklet, tape measure and waterproof notebook to help accurate recording of catches.

Available on both Android and iOS devices the free app is available to everyone that takes part in the project and allows them to record catches on the go, identify target species, upload photos and see summaries of what they have done in the year.

Sea anglers also get entered into prize draws throughout the year from Fishing Megastore and Sea Angler Magazine.

The Sea Angling Diary Project is run by research company and angling experts Substance ( with the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas, It is supported by the Irish Federation of Sea Anglers, Welsh Federation of Sea Anglers, Scottish Federation of Sea Anglers and the Angling Trades Association.

Project manager, Adam Brown, Head of Research at Substance said: ‘There is a lot in this for sea anglers – access to state of the art technology to record all their sea fishing activities and catches and rewards for taking part. But most importantly it allows anglers to contribute to an important, national citizen science project, collecting data across the UK that will help inform the ongoing management of our fisheries at a critical time.’

Anglers can find out more and sign up at:
They can download the app by searching for “Sea Angling Diary” in the app store, or from these links:

















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