Fishing Gear Entanglements

A concern to boaters for many years and it has been on the RYA’s agenda for just as long.

For many years the RYA has been concerned by reports of boaters who have experienced fouled propellers and entanglement with sea-fishing gear such as nets, pots and associated markers, flags and lines.

Proper marking 

While fishing equipment cannot be charted, the RYA believes that it should be properly marked and lit so that it is visible by both day and night.

Legislation is focused on marking of static fishing gear for the purposes of identification rather than for collision avoidance. However this existing legislation, which requires fishing gear to be marked with the owner’s details, is often ignored. Self-evidently, it is almost impossible to take enforcement action against an absent owner who doesn’t identify himself.

Data needed for evidence

Evidence of the danger that poorly marked static sea-fishing gear causes to the boater is however scarce. The RYA has data from forms submitted to it by boaters in the late 2000s, but fresh data is urgently required if the extent of the problem is to be demonstrated to the relevant government agencies.

The RYA has therefore developed a simple online reporting form, which boaters can complete to help to collate quantitative data to support boaters’ concerns.

Please report any incident you are involved in to the RYA and encourage other boaters to do the same. Without input from boaters we will never have the necessary data to demonstrate the danger of poorly marked static sea-fishing gear. 

Who is responsible?

There are a number of EU fisheries management requirements passed for the marking of gear. In England, responsibility for implementing EU fisheries legislation, and ensuring compliance with fisheries law, is divided between the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), with a national role, and Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (IFCAs) which have regional responsibilities within 6nm. In the devolved administrations, this activity is the responsibility of Marine Scotland, the Welsh Government, and the Northern Irish Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

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.

Working on your behalf

More detailed information about the RYA's work on this issue can be found under External Affairs.

Report an entanglement

To report an incident to the RYA relating to entanglement in fishing gear, please fill in our online form.