Potting Permit Conditions

Formal Consultation

Amendment to the Permit Conditions to Manage the Live Wrasse Pot Fishery

What is this about?

D&S IFCA is inviting you to respond to the formal consultation on a proposed amendment to existing Potting Permit Conditions that are used to manage the Live Wrasse Pot Fishery. The proposed change will apply to all potting permits; however, the change will only impact commercial fishers issued with a Category One Potting Permit that are also authorised to engage in the Live Wrasse Pot Fishery. The proposed change will not impact commercial or recreational fishers that use pots to target shellfish.

  • The information gathering exercise ends on Wednesday 12th May 2021.

We are directly contacting everyone on our (email) mailing list and are giving you options on how to respond. Due to the Covid-19 virus and our current working arrangements, we are not able to send this information directly to any permit holder that has only provided a postal address.  Your view is important, and we encourage you to forward this information or notify others that may have an interest in the consultation. All stakeholders can respond even if they do not conduct commercial potting for live wrasse within the D&S IFCA’s District.

The catch restriction section of each potting permit will be amended. At present part of section 2.6.2 states the following:

A permit holder or named representative is not authorised to remove live wrasse within the District other than within the size ranges as set out below.

ballan wrasse less than 150mm or greater than 230mm, measured from the tip of the snout to the end of the tail fin;

The amended paragraph - 2.6.2 (a) - would be amended as follows:

ballan wrasse less than 180mm or greater than 260mm, measured from the tip of the snout to the end of the tail fin;

There are no other changes being proposed.

Background Information – The Live Wrasse Pot Fishery

Fishing with pots for live wrasse is highly regulated in the D&S IFCA’s District and can only be conducted by commercial fishers. A total of 480 pots (that must be tagged) are authorised to be used within the entire D&S IFCA’s District to catch live wrasse that are used as cleaner fish in salmon farms. Additional commercial fishers with a potting permit, have an opportunity to join the fishery; however, this would trigger a review of the Potting Permit Conditions to determine how to divide the total effort.

The activity is restricted to an area of the D&S IFCA’s District in and around Plymouth Sound. The tags are currently divided to allow up to four commercial fishing vessels (maximum of 120 tags each) to engage in the Live Wrasse Pot Fishery.

Currently, the Potting Permit Conditions include a closed fishing season for live wrasse (1st May to 15th July inclusive), gear marking, a prohibition on the removal of rock cook wrasse and minimum and maximum size restrictions for four other species of wrasse.

Voluntary measures also contribute to the management of the fishery.   

Research & Evidence

D&S IFCA introduced management measures in 2017 and has continued to closely monitor the fishery. On 25th February 2021, members of the D&S IFCA’s Byelaw and Permitting Sub-Committee (B&PSC) were presented with two reports. Both reports have been subjected to minor amendment and D&S IFCA’s best available evidence can be found on D&S IFCA’s website (Resource Library/Section H/Finfish/Wrasse) or by using the links below: 

Review of the Live Wrasse in Devon and Severn IFCA’s District 2017-2020 - Version 1.1 (March 2021)

Summary Report: Annual Review of the Live Wrasse Fishery in Devon and Severn IFCA’s District, 2017-2020 – Version 1.1 (March 2021)

Outcomes of the Comprehensive Review & Decision Making

Ballan Wrasse:

The results of the review suggested that a revised Conservation Reference Size (CRS) range of 18–26 cm would likely improve the sustainability of the ballan populations by increasing the proportion of mature females that are returned to the sea and can subsequently reproduce.

Under the current CRS limits of 15–23 cm, up to 71% of ballan wrasse caught in pots were retained during 2017–2020. As highlighted in the reports, targeting this size range with high retention rates risks highly sex-selective fishing and removal of mature females from the population, potentially limiting reproductive potential and affecting population growth. The evidence was therefore supportive of a review of the CRS limits for ballan wrasse.

After reviewing and discussing the findings of the reports, the B&PSC determined that the Potting Permit Conditions should be amended. This formal consultation is a requirement of the process to make potential changes to the Potting Permit Conditions.

The findings of this formal consultation will be presented to and discussed by the Byelaw and Permitting Sub-Committee (B&PSC). The B&PSC will determine if the changes to the Potting Permit Conditions (as proposed) are to go ahead. The Potting Permit Conditions will potentially be amended and re-circulated free of charge in July 2021.


  1. What interest do you have in the Live Wrasse Pot Fishery?
  2. Do you have any comments on the proposed change to the Potting Permit Conditions?
  3. If you do not support the proposed changes, please set out your reasons?

How you can have your say

Contact us via email – consultation@devonandsevernifca.gov.uk

Write to us:

Devon and Severn IFCA, Brixham Laboratory, Freshwater Quarry, Brixham, TQ5 8BA.

  • This information gathering exercise ends on Wednesday 12th May 2021.

What do we do with your information – Privacy Policy

We protect any personal data that you may provide. Any personal data submitted in this information collecting process will not be shared with others. The content of responses will be summarised and anonymised where appropriate for documenting in reports that will be presented to the Byelaw & Permitting Sub-Committee and published on our website.

D&S IFCA has a privacy policy which can be found by visiting our website (home page) www.devonandsevernifca.gov.uk

  • You can change your preferences at any time.
  • We have a duty to consult with D&S IFCA Permit Holders.

You can manage your preferences by contacting D&S IFCA. 

Further Information & Links 

Further detail about the D&S IFCA Byelaw & Permitting Sub-Committee, the work that they undertake, and how it is possible to amend permit conditions via a review process can be found in our guide.

Reports presented to and discussed by the Byelaw and Permitting Sub-Committee can be found on the D&S IFCA’s website in Section B of the Resource Library or are available upon request.

The Meetings Tab of the D&S IFCA’s website is also used to post information relevant to the most recent meetings.

Minutes of Byelaw and Permitting Sub-Committee meetings (when approved for accuracy) can be found on the D&S IFCA’s website in Section B of the Resource Library or available upon request.

Existing Potting Permit Conditions (Version control 24th June 2020) and the Policy and Guidance Notice (June 2020) that includes information regarding voluntary closed areas for the Live Wrasse Pot Fishery can both be viewed here.

Page updated 14th April 2021.