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Minimum Sizes

Minimum size regulations are simple and effective method for managing fishing sustainably, both in the commercial and recreational sectors. These regulations aim to prevent the removal of juvenile fish from the stock, meaning there will be a greater likelihood that they will reach maturity and reproduce, thus increasing population size.

There are two main types of legislation which set minimum sizes in the UK:

1.       Statutory legislation: these regulations set minimum sizes for the whole country and will therefore include species that are found less commonly in Kent and Essex waters. See a list of links to relevant national legislation below.

·         Regulation (EU) 2019/1241: statutory minimum sizes for North Sea (Annex V) and North-western Waters (Annex VI) 

·         Regulation (EU) 2017/2107: minimum size for North Atlantic swordfish

·         Regulation (EU) 2016/1627: minimum size for Bluefin Tuna

·         The Undersized Edible Crabs Order 2000:

·         The Undersized Spider Crabs Order 2000

·         The Undersized Velvet Crabs Order 1989


2.       Local IFCA byelaws: these set minimum sizes specific to each IFCA district, and typically reflect the species that are more abundant in that area. Local minimum sizes may be more strict than national limits, and may differ in different parts of the country, so it is recommended to check the local IFCA website before fishing there.

For a list of local minimum sizes in Kent and Essex, see the list below.  


MINIMUM SIZES BYELAW  click here for a copy of the Byelaw The measurement of the size of a marine organism is specified within Schedule 2 of the Byelaw.  

Finfish Minimum Landing Size  
BASS (Dicentrarchus labrax) 42cm  
COD (Gadus morhua) 35cm  
HADDOCK (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) 30cm  
HERRING (Clupea harengus) 20cm  
HORSE MACKEREL (Trachurus trachurus) 15cm  
MACKEREL (North Sea) (Scomber scomber) 30cm  
MACKEREL (Other Areas)(Scomber scomber) 20cm  
SOLE (Solea spp.) 24cm  
PLAICE (Pleuronectes platessa) 27cm  
WHITING (Merlangius merlangius) 27cm  
HAKE (Merluccius merluccius) 27cm  
LING (Molva molva) 63cm  
POLLACK (Pollachius pollachius) 30cm  
SARDINE Sardina pilchardus) 11cm  


EUROPEAN LOBSTER (Homarus gammarus) 87 mm  
EDIBLE CRAB (Cancer pagurus) ICES sub area IVc 130 mm ICS sub area VIId 140mm  
VELVET SWIMMING CRAB (Necora puber) 65 mm  
SPIDER CRAB (Maja squinado) 130 mm (males)120 mm (females)  
  120 mm (females)  
QUEEN SCALLOP (Chlamys spp) 40 mm  
SCALLOP (Pecten maximus) 110 mm  
CARPETSHELL (Venerupis pullastra) 38 mm  
WHELK (Buccinum undatum) 45 mm  
RAZOR CLAM (Ensis spp) 100 mm  
DONAX CLAMS (Donax spp.) 25 mm  
HARD CLAM (Callista chione) 60 mm  
SHORT-NECKED CLAM (Ruditapes phillipinnarum) 35 mm  
GROOVED CARPETSHELL (Ruditapes decussatus) 40 mm  
OCTOPUS (Octopus vulgaris) 750g