Statutory guidance

Minimum fish landing sizes

Details of Minimum Conservation Reference Sizes (MCRS) in UK waters.



For the protection and conservation of fisheries resources (MCRS) (previously ‘minimum sizes’) are applied to certain species of fish and shellfish.

Unless a species is subject to the landing obligation (discard ban) you must return all catches below the MCRS to the sea immediately.

The table summarises the European Union and UK MCRS applicable in UK waters (Region 2) and to UK vessels. 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 minimum sizes 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.

The tables below are for guidance only. Articles 17 to 19b and annexes XII to XIII of Council Regulation (EC) 850/98 establish how to measure marine organisms subject to a MCRS, exemptions from the requirements and list the current EU minimum conservation references sizes.

A list of applicable EU and UK technical conservation legislation can be found in the MMO’s Blue Book.

Published 3 August 2017
Last updated 12 November 2018 + show all updates
  1. Text updated
  2. First published.