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Minimum sizes that apply to recreational fishing in Cornwall

There have been significant changes made to the management of fisheries at a European level which will affect those fishing in the Cornwall Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) district in a number of ways.  One of the significant changes resulting from the new technical measures relates to recreational fishing.


Under the new EU regulation, there are no longer any European minimum sizes for sea fish applied to recreational fishing.  However, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has said that it will apply the 42cm minimum conservation reference size for bass to recreational fishing.

The only minimum sizes that apply to recreational fishing in the Cornwall IFCA district are prescribed under our Specified Fish Sizes byelaw, and other byelaws for various shellfish species.

For recreational fishing, the following minimum sizes apply within the Cornwall IFCA district (with some small exceptions, as described below) Please note these sizes also apply to the commercial sector except where the Landing Obligation is applied.



Conger Eel          58 centimetres

Hake                    30 centimetres

Grey Mullet          20 centimetres

Red Seabream    25 centimetres

Black Seabream  23 centimetres

Red Mullet           15 centimetres

Witch Flounder    28 centimetres

Dab                      15 centimetres

Lemon Sole          25 centimetres

Flounder               25 centimetres

Megrim                 25 centimetres

Brill                       30 centimetres

Turbot                   30 centimetres 


Crawfish                          110mm

Edible Crab female          150mm

Edible Crab male             160mm

Spider crab                      130mm

Lobster                              90mm 

Mussels                             50mm shell length

The sizes listed above result from byelaws inherited from the former Cornwall Sea Fisheries Committee and therefore, do not apply to the whole of the larger Cornwall IFCA district, principally within the rivers and estuaries.  

In addition to the above shellfish minimum sizes, please be aware that cockles that are removed from Cornish rivers and estuaries must not pass through a space of 20mm width.


It is an offence to catch or harvest marine species using any type of projectile, including handheld spears and spear guns used in recreational fishing from dusk till dawn or when using an aqualung.

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Updated on January 27th, 2013

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