Formal Consultation – Potting Permit Conditions

A formal consultation on proposals to amend the existing Potting Permit Conditions has begun. D&S IFCA is contacting everyone on its (email) mailing list with a circular that provides more detail and links to additional information. The consultation website page also provides some information.

All stakeholders can respond even if they do not conduct commercial potting for live wrasse within the D&S IFCA’s District.

The consultation will end on 12th May 2021.

Who will be impacted by the potential change?

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.

What is being proposed?

The catch restriction section of each potting permit will be amended. At present part of section 2.6.2 states that 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. A list is set out within the Potting Permit Conditions and specifies the size range for ballan wrasse as follows:

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, as proposed, would be 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.

The Questions:

  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 –

Write to us:

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

What is the Live Wrasse Pot Fishery?

Pots are used to capture live wrasse that are then used as cleaner fish in salmon farms. 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. 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. Current Potting Permit Conditions and voluntary measures can be viewed here.

Research and Evidence Base

D&S IFCA introduced management measures in 2017 and has closely monitored the fishery for three years. The proposal is based upon D&S IFCA’s best available evidence which is highlighted on the consultation website page.

What is the next step?

The findings of this consultation will be 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. 

D&S IFCA protects any personal data it receives and has a privacy policy which you can read here.