IFCA Rules for Recreational Fishing 2024 + Useful documents and diagrams.

Spearfishing in the UK is governed by your local Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) this governing body has different rules depending on the region so its worth double checking online for the specifics of your area, for example Devon requires a shellfish permit for Scallops whereas Cornwall does not. Recreational : Cornwall Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (CIFCA) (cornwall-ifca.gov.uk)

Most fish have a min size and some have catch limits, such as the most popular fish, European Sea Bass. We can only catch 2 bass a day at a min size of 42cm and only from the 1st of April until the end of January as Bass season is closed for Feb and March for catch and release by line only.

For example in Cornwall there is limits on estuary fishing due to nursery zones and some are no take zones all year, check out the specific limits for Bass in Cornwall here

Cornwall IFCA have a few handy documents that breaks down all the sizes and how to measure your fish and shellfish – check them out here 

A few useful sizes based off Cornwall IFCA limits

Bass – 42cm, 2 a day

Grey Mullet  – 20cm

Red Mullet – 15cm

Black Bream – 30cm

Red Seabream – 25cm

Flounder – 25cm

Turbot – 30cm

Lobster – 90mm carapace – all V notched lobsters must be thrown back – you also cannot shoot lobsters and must catch them by hand. All lobsters that are berried/carrying eggs must be returned.

Scallop – 100mm width

Edible crab – 160mm for Male & 150mm for Female

Pollack is now closed for commercial fishing and is only open for recreational fishing, there is no min size listed for Cornwall but the commercial size is 30cm, however we think 42cm just like Bass is a great guide to use in general.

A few quick do’s and don’ts

You cannot sell any fish caught by spearfishing.

Spearfishing is only legal in the UK from dusk to dawn and you can only forage at night.

You cannot spearfish whilst scuba diving or whilst using surface supplied air, you must be snorkeling or freediving