The Isles of Scilly Sea Fisheries Committee was one of twelve similar Committees around the coast of England and Wales. Half of each Committee membership was made up of local Councillors, with the remainder being appointed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), from nominated people familiar with the fishing industry. The Committee was responsible for the management of fish stocks in the inshore waters around the Islands (out to the 6 mile limit) and the necessary enforcement regime that flows from the management duty. In recent years the remit of the Committee has been enhanced by the inclusion of environmental and conservation powers.
The Committee did not employ a full time fishery officer, but appointed an Honorary Patrol Officer from amongst the local fishing community. The administration of the Sea Fisheries Committee was undertaken by the Maritime Officer. The Committee, and now the IFCA, has a cross warranting arrangement with Cornwall IFCA allowing their Sea Fisheries Officers jurisdiction within the 6 mile limit around the Islands. The Honorary Fisheries Patrol Officer and the Maritime Officer have similar powers in Cornish waters. The photograph is of the Council's Maritime Officer on patrol in the Cornwall Sea Fisheries' RIB to the South of the Islands in July 2005.
The core activities of the service are:
- To fulfil the statutory protection and enforcement duties within the Isles of Scilly Sea Fisheries District, some 252 square nautical miles
- To carry out enforcement at sea using the Honorary Patrol Officer's vessel or by chartering the Duchy of Cornwall's harbour launch
- To lead the way in the management and protection of the fishery through the introduction of relevant byelaws that address issues surrounding the fish stocks within the waters around the Islands
- To lead and adminster the establishment of Marine Conservation Zones around the Islands
- To make byelaws to enforce protection. The three byelaws of the Isles of Scilly IFCA are found here - Sea Fisheries Byelaws
Service priorities are:
- Build on the solid foundations in place to ensure continued compliance with current and future legislation
- Education of fishermen and the wider general public in all matters concerning the complexities of fisheries
- Encourage individuals (both ashore and at sea) to consider the environmental implications of their actions
- Assist the newly opened Lobster Hatchery at Padstow in Cornwall to seed juvenile lobsters onto suitable grounds around the Isles of Scilly
- Develop an improved understanding of the environmental issues surrounding the local fishing industry and formulate a fisheries management strategy to take account of those issues.
Joint Working Arrangements
The Service maintains a close liaison with a whole range of fishing, other enforcement and environmental bodies including the following:
- Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
- Association of Sea Fisheries Committees and other Sea Fisheries Committees
- Maritime and Coastguard Agency
- Cornwall Sea Fisheries Marine Protected Area group
- Natural England
- The Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust
- The Isles of Scilly Fishermen's Association
- The Duchy of Cornwall
- Sea Fish Industry Authority
- Finding Sanctuary
- Non-governmental conservation bodies
The Service was actively involved in responses to the Ministry regarding the Marine and Coastal Access Act particularly over the issue of reducing the number of Sea Fisheries Committees. The Isles of Scilly Sea Fisheries Committee was successful in maintaining its independance and has now become one of the ten Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (IFCAs) when they were established on April 1st 2011. With other agencies, bodies and the fishing industry, we will explore the issues surrounding low-impact, sustainable fisheries in the inshore zone, encouraging fishermen to diversify where it appears to be sensible. The members have now set-up its own Marine Protection Area/Marine Conservation Zones Working Group and is working closely with Finding Sanctuary and Natural England in exploring the options of creating areas for conservation purposes.
The Isles of Scilly Sea Fisheries Committee ceased to exist on 31st March 2011 and was replaced by the Isles of Scilly Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority. The new organisation - IFCA - consists of eight members. Three local authority members, three Marine Management Organisation's appointees and a representative from Natural England and one from the Marine Management Organisation.
Thanks to a generous 100% grant from Defra under the heading of Transitional Funding, a Humber 7-metre Ocean Pro RIB was purchased to function as a patrol boat. The boat has been named 'Matt Lethbridge' after the late legendary fisherman and lifeboat coxswain. The vessel will have two main responsibilities - fisheries enforcement and conservation monitoring. A further funding stream -New Burdens Fundng - has enabled the function to be fully funded to the tune of £110,000 a year for the next four years.
One of the obligations of the new IFCA is the publication of an Annual Plan under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. Here is the link to the document: Isles of Scilly IFCA Annual Plan 2011-12 Opens in a new window Hard copies are available by post or in person from the IFCA Office in the Economic Development Department, Porthmellon, St.Mary's, Isles of Scilly TR21 0JY.
More information will appear in due course. In the meantime for further information contact the Maritime Officer on 01720 424808 or 07818 515 401 or email@example.com