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The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 has modernised the way that inshore sea fisheries resources are managed in England by replacing Sea Fisheries Committees with Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (IFCAs) from April 2011.
What are IFCAs?
IFCAs are either committees or joint committees of the local authorities that fall within an IFC district. They are tasked with the sustainable management of inshore sea fisheries resources in their local area. They are made up of representatives from the constituent local authorities (who provide funding for the IFCA) along with people from across the different sectors that use or are knowledgeable about the inshore marine area, such as commercial and recreational fishermen, environmental groups and marine researchers, who offer their time voluntarily.
The Marine Management Organisation, Environment Agency and Natural England also each have a statutory seat on the IFCA. Through their local management and funding structures, IFCAs help put local authorities, local communities, local businesses and individual citizens in the driving seat, allowing them to play a bigger part in the protection and enhancement of their inshore marine environment.
IFCAs aim to “lead, champion and manage a sustainable marine environment and inshore fisheries, by successfully securing the right balance between social, environmental and economic benefits to ensure healthy seas, sustainable fisheries and a viable industry”.
Each IFCA manages a district that covers part of the English coast that goes out to six nautical miles and its inland boundaries align with those of its constituent local authorities. IFCAs also manage sea fisheries resources in estuaries that fall within their districts.
There are ten IFC districts, with their corresponding IFCAs, in England. These are:
- North Western IFCA and district
- Northumberland IFCA and district
- North Eastern IFCA and district
- Eastern IFCA and district
- Kent and Essex IFCA and district
- Sussex IFCA and district
- Southern IFCA and district
- Devon and Severn IFCA and district
- Cornwall IFCA and district, and
- Isles of Scilly IFCA and district