Formal consultation on Eastern IFCA Byelaws

Eastern IFCA is holding a consultation regarding two byelaws as follows:

  • The Marine Protected Areas Byelaw 2019; and
  • The Wash Restricted Area Byelaw 2019

More information on the byelaws is set out below.

The purpose of this consultation is to gather the views of stakeholders and in particular those who will likely be affected by the byelaws.

To take part in the consultation, please send written responses setting out your support, objections or comments addressed to the CEO of Eastern IFCA at the email or postal address below.

Email address:

Postal address: Eastern IFCA, Unit 6 North Lynn Business Village, Bergen Way, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, PE30 2JG

Please also send a copy of any response to the Marine Management Organisation at either of the following:


Postal address: Marine Conservation and Enforcement Team, Marine Management Organisation, Lancaster House, Hampshire Court, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, NE4 7HY.

The deadline for responses is noon on the 22nd July 2019. 

Please contact the Eastern IFCA office if you have any questions about the byelaws, associated information or the consultation.

Why is Eastern IFCA introducing new byelaws?

Marine Protected Areas Byelaw 2019

Eastern IFCA has undertaken assessments of the impacts of bottom towed gear fishing in marine protected areas within the Eastern IFCA district.

Eastern IFCA’s ongoing assessment of fisheries in MPAs has identified a need for additional spatial closures for towed demersal fishing to protect sensitive features within three sites: The Wash & North Norfolk Coast Special Area of Conservation (SAC), Cromer Shoal Chalk Beds Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) and the Haisborough, Hammond and Winterton Special Area of Conservation (SAC). More detailed background information about the closures can be found here

An infographic of the Cromer MCZ management can be found here

Wash Restricted Area Byelaw 2019

Eastern IFCA manages bivalve mollusc shellfish fisheries within the entire Wash embayment with the exception of the private fishery of the Le Strange Estate.  On the 27th July 2018, the High Court handed down a judgement with the effect of changing the boundary of the Le Strange Estate.  This has had the effect of opening an ‘unmanaged’ portion of the Wash (i.e. between the boundary of the WFO and the Le Strange Estate).

The Wash hosts very important conservation features and valuable bivalve mollusc fisheries (primarily cockles).  To ensure that neither the environment nor the stocks are damaged by fishing activity, Eastern IFCA is proposing to implement management measures.

Informal consultations

Eastern IFCA undertook informal consultation with regard to both byelaws; those who responded have received a reply to their specific comments.

Marine Protected Areas Byelaw 2019

The Marine Protected Areas Byelaw 2019 will implement new spatial closures in relation to fishing with bottom-towed-gear.  These closures will be in addition to the closures in place under the Protected Areas Byelaw 2016, and the Marine Protected Areas Byelaw 2018 (the latter is currently awaiting formal sign-off).  The purpose of this byelaw is to protect the most sensitive habitats from the impacts of trawling with bottom-towed-gear.

A summary of the draft byelaw can be found here

The wording of the draft byelaw can be found here

The associated Impact Assessment can be found here


Wash Restricted Area Byelaw 2019

The byelaw will replace an emergency byelaw to regulate fishing for bivalve molluscs in an area of the Wash (Norfolk) which is not covered by the Wash Fishery Order 1992. The intention is to ensure that fishing activity is sustainable and does not adversely impact site integrity of the marine protected areas within which the fishery operates.

The byelaw will require a permit to fish in accordance with restrictions set out in the byelaw and flexible management measures. It includes mechanisms for Eastern IFCA to implement flexible management measures at short notice (including opening or closing fisheries or parts of fisheries, setting operating times, issuing, varying and revoking flexible permit conditions and eligibility criteria in relation to issuing permits and suspending the issuing of permits). There is a fee associated with the annual permit of £44. Permits will be suspended in the event of non-compliance with the provisions of the byelaw or failure to comply or obstruction of Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Officers.  Permit conditions and eligibility criteria are also proposed which restrict permits to those holding a Wash Fishery Order 1992 Licence.


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