Collection

Closed fishing areas

Details of all closures including who they apply to, coordinates, charts and geographic information system data.

To protect certain fish stocks or marine features there are a number of areas permanently or seasonally closed to various methods of fishing within English and EU waters.

At certain times of the year, Real Time closures may also be implemented to protect juvenile fish stocks.

Since January 2017 the MMO have not implemented Real Time closures in English waters, however you will still need to be aware of juvenile, seasonal or any other closures in areas managed by other member states. Details of closures within European marine sites (EMS) to protect environmental features, including who they apply to, coordinates, charts and geographic information system data can be found by following the links below in the guidance on environmental closures section.

A number of other closures are detailed in Council Regulation (EC) No 850/98 - technical measures for the conservation of fisheries resources and Commission Regulation (EC) 494_2002 these are summarised in table’s 1 and 2 below, for full details please refer to the legislation or contact your local MMO office.

Please be aware that for vessels engaged in fisheries where the landing obligation (discard ban) applies, the landing obligation takes precedence and unintended catches must be retained and landed.

If you fish within the 6 nautical mile limit in English waters, or waters controlled by Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales there may be additional measures established by the relevant authorities. Please check with Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority (IFCAs), Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), Marine Scotland (MS) or the Welsh Government (WG) as appropriate.

If you are unsure which closures currently apply to the area you are fishing in please contact your local MMO office for further information.

Table 1 - Summary of closures as detailed in Council Regulation (EC) No 850/98 and Commission Regulation (EC) 494_2002 applicable to UK waters

Species Area Dates Legislation Gear
Herring Specified areas of North sea and Irish sea Variable Article 20 of Council Regulation (EC) 850/98 Towed gear with mesh less than 55mm
Purse seines
Gillnets with mesh less than 55mm
Herring ICES IIa 1 January 2018 to 28 February 2018 and 16 May 2018 to 31 December 2018 Article 20(a) of Council Regulation (EC) 850/98 Towed gear with mesh less than 55mm
Purse seines
Gillnets with mesh less than 55mm
Sprat North Sea Variable Article 21 of Council Regulation (EC) 850/98 Towed gear with mesh less than 32mm
Purse seines
Gillnets with mesh less than 30mm
Mackerel VIIf and parts of VIIe and VIIg All year Article 22 of Council Regulation (EC) 850/98 Towed gear with mesh less than 70mm
Purse seines
Common shrimps and Aesop shrimps All All year Article 25 of Council Regulation (EC) 850/98 Demersal towed nets 16 – 31mm
Salmon and sea trout Outside 6 mile limit All year Article 26 of Council Regulation (EC) 850/98 Towed nets
Norway pout Specified areas of North sea All year Article 27 of Council Regulation (EC) 850/98 Towed gear with mesh less than 32mm
Sand eels ICES sub-area IV All year Article 29(a) of Council Regulation (EC) 850/98 Towed gear with mesh less than 32mm
Haddock ICES sub area VI All year Article 29(c) of Council Regulation (EC) 850/98 All fishing apart from with longlines
Cod, haddock, whiting ICES area VIa All year Article 29(d) of Council Regulation (EC) 850/98 Only inshore static nets fixed with stakes, scallop dredges, mussel dredges, hand-lines, mechanised jigging, draft nets and beach seines, pots and creels to be used
Cod ICES sub area VII ICES rectangles 30E4, 31E4, 32E3 February 1 to March 31 Article 29(e) of Council Regulation (EC) 850/98 Only inshore static nets fixed with stakes, scallop dredges, mussel dredges, hand-lines, mechanised jigging, draft nets and beach seines, pots and creels to be used
Blue ling ICES division VIIa March 1 to 31 May 15 February to 15 April Depending on area Article 29(f) of Council Regulation (EC) 850/98 Any fishing gear
Hake Parts of VIIg and VIIh All year (Part area exemption April to October) Commission Regulation (EC) 494_2002 No trawls 55-99mm no static nets less than 120mm

Table 2 – Summary of closures as detailed in Council Regulation (EC) No 850/98 applicable outside of UK waters

Species Area Dates Legislation Gear
Redfish International waters of ICES sub area I and II January 1 to 30 June Article 29(g) of Council Regulation (EC) 850/98 Vessels with no track record in this area
Redfish Irminger sea and adjacent waters January 1 to May 10 Article 29(h) of Council Regulation (EC) 850/98 Trawls with a mesh of less than 100mm
Norway lobster West of the coast of Portugal Various between 1 May and August 31 depending on area Article 29(b) of Council Regulation (EC) 850/98 Bottom towed nets and creels
Hake West of Bay of Biscay and West of the coast of Portugal 1 October to end of February depending on area Article 28 of Council Regulation (EC) 850/98 Danish seine or similar towed net
Plaice and sole Various areas within 12 miles of the coasts of France, Denmark, Belgium and Netherlands All year Article 29 of Council Regulation (EC) 850/98 Danish seine or similar towed net for vessels over 8m in length
Anchovy VIIIc All year Article 23 of Council Regulation (EC) 850/98 Pelagic trawls

Areas currently closed

Published 11 June 2014
Last updated 27 February 2018 + show all updates
  1. The Margate and Long Sands European Marine Site (Specified Areas) Bottom Towed Fishing Gear Byelaw added
  2. Real Time Closures (RTCs): December 2016 added
  3. Real Time Closures (RTCs): November 2016 added
  4. Scottish Real Time Closures (RTCs) 30 October 2016 to 19 November 2016 added
  5. Scottish Real Time Closures (RTCs) 9 October 2016 to 29 October 2016 added
  6. Real Time Closures (RTCs): October 2016 added
  7. Scottish Real Time Closures (RTCs) 18 September 2016 to 8 October 2016 added
  8. Real Time Closures (RTCs): September 2016 added
  9. Scottish Real Time Closures (RTCs) 28 August 2016 to 17 September 2016 added
  10. Scottish Real Time Closures (RTCs) 7 August 2016 to 27 August 2016 added
  11. Real Time Closures (RTCs): August 2015 added
  12. Scottish Real Time Closures (RTCs) 23 July 2016 to 10 August 2016 added
  13. Real Time Closures (RTCs): August 2016 added
  14. Scottish Real Time Closures (RTCs) 17 July 2016 to 6 August 2016 added
  15. Scottish Real Time Closures (RTCs) 24 June 2016 to 14 July 2016 added
  16. Real Time Closures (RTCs): June 2016 added
  17. Scottish Real Time Closures (RTCs) 13 May 2016 to 2 June 2016 added
  18. Scottish Juvenile Real Time Closure (RTC) 26 April 2016 to 16 May 2016 added
  19. Scottish Real Time Closures (RTCs) 22 April 2016 to 12 May 2016 added
  20. Real Time Closures (RTCs): May 2016 added
  21. Scottish Real Time Closures (RTCs) 1 April 2016 to 21 April 2016 added
  22. Real time closure (RTCs): April 2016 added
  23. Scottish Real Time Closures (RTCs) 11 March 2016 to 31 March 2016 added
  24. Real Time Closures (RTCs): March 2016 added
  25. Scottish Real Time Closures (RTCs) 19 February 2016 to 10 March 2016 added
  26. Scottish Real Time Closures (RTCs) 29 January 2016 to 18 February 2016 added
  27. Real Time Closures (RTCs): February 2016 added
  28. Scottish Real Time Closures (RTCs) 6 January 2016 to 26 January 2016 added
  29. Real Time Closures (RTCs): January 2016 added
  30. Scottish Real Time Closures (RTCs) 11 December 2015 to 31 December 2015 data added
  31. December 2015 real time closure added
  32. Scottish RTC added
  33. Scottish Real Time Closures (RTCs) 30 October 2015 to 19 November 2015 added
  34. November closed areas added
  35. Scottish Real Time Closures (RTCs) 14 October 2015 to 3 November 2015 added
  36. Scottish Real Time Closures (RTCs) 9 October 2015 to 29 October 2015 added
  37. Scottish Real Time Closures (RTCs) 29 September 2015 to 19 October 2015 added
  38. Real time closures added
  39. October 2015 RTC added
  40. Addtio of Scottish RTCs effective from 19 September 2015 to 09 October 2015
  41. Scottish Real Time Closures (RTCs) 18 September 2015 to 08 October 2015 added
  42. Scottish Real Time Closures (RTCs) 28 August 2015 to 17 September 2015 added
  43. September RTC added
  44. Sea areas closed from 00:01 on 7 August 2015 to 23:59 on 27 August 2015 RTC added
  45. August RTC added
  46. Scottish Real Time Closures (RTCs) 17 July 2015 to 6 August 2015 added
  47. Scottish Real Time Closures (RTCs) 9 July 2015 to 29 July 2015 added
  48. Scottish Real Time Closures (RTCs) 1 July 2015 to 21 July 2015 added
  49. English waters text removed and July RTC added
  50. Scottish Real Time Closures (RTCs) 26 June 2015 to 16 July 2015 added
  51. Precautionary area at Koralbanken (19 June to 3 July 2015) added
  52. Scottish real time closure added
  53. Scottish Real Time Closures (RTCs) 5 June 2015 to 25 June 2015 added
  54. Precautionary Area - Store Fiskebank (30 May - 13 June 2015) RTC added
  55. June 2015 RTC added
  56. Scottish RTC dated 16 May added
  57. Norway economic zone real time closure added
  58. RTC added effective from 00:00 Friday 1 May 2015 and will reopen at 23:59 on Sunday 31 May 2015.
  59. Scottish Real Time Closures (RTCs) added
  60. Scottish Real Time Closures (RTCs) 11 April 2015 to 1 May 2015 added
  61. Scottish real time closures added
  62. April RTCs added
  63. Scottish RTC added March-April 2015
  64. March 2014 RTCs added
  65. Scottish real time closures added January to February 2015
  66. February 2015 real time closures added
  67. Real time closure for January 2015 and seasonal closure added
  68. Updated with December RTCs
  69. November RTCs added
  70. amended reference to IFCAs' remit
  71. October RTC added
  72. New closure effecting the Skagerrak until 9 October 2014
  73. September RTC added
  74. Added South Devon crabbing and trawling chart 2014.
  75. RTC's for August added - 28 July
  76. First published.