The RYA has for many years been concerned by reports of boaters experiencing fouled propellers and other entanglement with sea-fishing gear.
In a bid to evaluate the extent of the situation, with a view to addressing the issue the RYA encouraged and collated reports of incidents from boat owners. The hazard also came to the attention of CHIRP (the Confidential Hazardous Incident Reporting Programme) who again encouraged skippers to file reports.
Discussions with the MCA lead to them re-issuing their guidance leaflet on the marking of fishing gear and some port authorities issued notice to mariners reminding fishermen of any relevant byelaws in place, but none of these authorities regulate fishing.
As a result of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, 10 regional Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (IFCA) have the powers to regulate fishing up to 6 miles offshore. The IFCA manage inshore fishing through research, regulation and enforcement activity at sea. The requirements to mark fishing gear can vary as it is enforced through each IFCA’s byelaws, however as these byelaws are reviewed marking requirements are being introduced in most regions. Contact details for the 10 regional IFCA can be found on the Association of Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities website.
The MMO regulates fishing outside of 6nM and has published guidance on marking of fishing gear.
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