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Fishing and aquaculture

Fishing and aquaculture

Fishing and aquaculture in England and Wales.

There are a variety of net and trap fisheries around England. Salmon, sea trout, eel, smelt and lamprey are targeted in estuaries and coastal waters; crayfish are trapped in many rivers and stillwaters; and there is increasing interest in trapping Chinese mitten crab in rivers and estuaries.

Over a thousand people are employed in these local rural industries; many more trap crayfish for personal consumption. The Environment Agency regulates net and trap fishing for migratory and freshwater fish, using a combination of fishing licences, authorisations and byelaws.

How we regulate net and trap fishing
Eel net and trap fishing – Find out how we regulate eel net and trap fishing, and what you need to do if you want to fish with nets or traps for eel or elver.

Salmon and sea trout net fishing – Find out how we regulate salmon and sea trout net fishing.

Lamprey, smelt, crayfish and Chinese mitten crab – Find out how we regulate trapping of lamprey, smelt, crayfish and Chinese mitten crab.

2013 Charges for net and trap fishing
Fishing method or instrument
Number of instruments covered
Elver fishing – Elver dip net
1 only
Adult Eel using a Fixed trap (eel racks)
1 only
Adult eel, smelt, lamprey or Chinese mitten crab1 fishing using:
Wingless or winged traps. These include fyke nets (with or without leaders or wings), putcheons, pipe traps, criggs pots, baskets, hives or like instruments.
Up to 10
From 2014
For more than 10 and up to 20
For more than 20 and up to 50
For more than 50 and up to 500
For over 500
Smelt fishing using a seine net
1 only
Crayfish trapping using:

Fyke nets (with or without leaders or wings), drop nets, crayfish traps, pots and similar instruments.
1 – 500+

Chinese Mitten Crab fishing
Although we have approved charges for different mitten crab fishing methods, we do not expect to authorise any fishing in 2013 other than for monitoring or scientific purposes.

Aquaculture is a significant industry. There are more than 1,000 fish and shellfish farming businesses in the UK, employing several thousand people.
Aquatic Animal Health and Movements (AAHM) formerly called Efishbusiness, explains what you need to move, export and import live fish, shellfish and crustacea in England. It also has information on keeping and releasing non-native species:
Aquatic Animal Health and Movements (AAHM)
The Environment Agency regulates water abstraction and discharges at fish farm sites in England.

Water abstraction
Environmental permitting for discharges to surface water and groundwater
We also regulate live fish movements from fish farms and other waters for restocking into rivers, lakes and canals in England. The relevant guidance is hosted on the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)/Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (Cefas) website:
Live fish movement guidance
Find out about online methods of fish movement consenting

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