Shrimp fishing

Shrimp ByelawShrimp fisheries form an important part of the inshore fishing industry within Eastern IFCA’s district and particularly in The Wash.  Shrimp fishing has occurred in The Wash for hundreds of years and landings from there account for circa 95% of total UK landings.

Fishers targeting shrimp in The Wash use a specific type of shrimp beam trawls – these tend to be lighter than beam or otter trawls associated with white fishing trawling (e.g. for flatfish).  A beam is towed from either side of a vessel (known as ‘twin-beaming’) with a net which has mesh in the size range of 16-31mm.


Management of shrimp fisheries

There are several pieces of national and European legislation which already regulate shrimp fisheries in the UK for example:

  • Article 25 and Annex 1 of the Council Regulation 850/98 which sets requirements for sorting and separating devices to protect flatfish and sets the legal mesh ranges for nets used for shrimp fishing; and
  • The Shrimp Fishing Nets Order 2002 which sets gear requirements to reduce by-catch of finfish.

In addition, Eastern IFCA has closed certain areas to shrimp fishing (and all types of bottom towed gear) to protect sensitive habitats in Marine protected Areas and there is a requirement for shrimp fishers to return catch data to Eastern IFCA.  Eastern IFCA also has a byelaw in place which limits the size of vessels which can use bottom towed gear within three nautical miles of the coast.  These measures are also included in table 1.

Is further management of the shrimp fishery planned?

Eastern IFCA will be introducing additional management measures for shrimp fishing.  The Shrimp Byelaw 2016 will require commercial shrimp fishers to obtain permit and fish within the associated permit conditions.  More information on the Shrimp Byelaw 2016 can be found by clicking this link.

Why manage the shrimp fishery?

Eastern IFCA has carried out an assessment of the potential impacts of fishing activity in all the Marine Protected Areas within the district.  This assessment has concluded that shrimp fishing may be having an impact on some habitats within The Wash.  To prevent such damage from occurring Eastern IFCA is looking to introduce some closures and fishing effort limitation for shrimp fishing.

The Shrimp Byelaw 2016 will enable Eastern IFCA to do this and have a protective effect on the sensitive habitats of The Wash.

In addition, this byelaw will enable Eastern IFCA to implement other management measures for the protection of the shrimp fishery itself.  For example, many fishers have suggested an increase in the minimum mesh size (the size of the gaps in the nets used to catch shrimp) and some form of seasonal closure to protect juvenile and breeding shrimp.

Eastern IFCA will be running consultations with the industry and other stakeholders throughout 2016 with a view to bring in shrimp management measures before December 2016.  Updates on the progress of this work will be placed on the News section of the website.


Eastern IFCA Byelaws (click the byelaw for a full description)


Protected Areas Byelaw


Three Regulatory Notices have been issued which prohibit the use of towed gear within certain areas of The Wash and the North Norfolk Coast.  Click the following links to see the Regulatory notices including charts of the closed areas.

·        Regulatory Notice 1

·        Regulatory Notice 2

·        Regulatory Notice 3



Byelaw 12 – Inshore trawling restrictions


Vessels larger than 15.24 meters are prohibited from fishing with towed nets within three nautical miles of the coast and all vessel are prohibited from trawling between Blakeney Church and Mundesley Church.



Byelaw 11 – Development of shellfish fisheries


All shrimp fishers active within the Wash and off the North Norfolk Coast are required to complete and return shrimp fishing forms.

design sprint agency