Salcombe – An update on the proposals for a netting fishery in the Estuary


We previously published a story relating to Devon & Severn IFCA’s open consultation on changes following a review of the Netting and Permit conditions.

Whilst the consultation deals with some additional items, including recreational and commercial netting of the Emsstrom wreck, our focus has largely been on the regressive proposals that would allow a six month netting fishery to occur throughout the entire waters of the Salcombe Estuary.

Anglers are keen to know what the Angling Trust will be doing to oppose this proposal.  Here we provide an update and information on the next steps and how you can get involved.

We have dedicated significant time across our marine team since we became aware of the consultation, and the response will be headed up by our Sea Angling Engagement Manager, Grant Jones.

Grant is leading a collaborative working group that utilises members of our regional volunteer group from the Wyvern region, members of the Bass Anglers Sportfishing Society and representation from the National Mullet Club, along with further campaigning and communications resource from the Angling Trust.

Engagement across this working group has been taking place with local business, the tourism sector, a wide variety of other water users, groups with an environmentalist or species specific interest, angling competition organisers, individual anglers and very critically, the Duchy of Cornwall who own the seabed and must provide approval for such activity to go ahead.

In addition, we have been undertaking a number of socio-economic surveys to demonstrate the value recreational angling brings to the local community and the threat that will be posed to this by the opening of the fishery.

Our position is clear. These proposals simply cannot go ahead.  They will be devastating to a far broader and economically more significant group of stakeholders than the few fishermen who would stand to make a modest but short lived unsustainable profit from the changes.

Whilst the procedural, socio-economic and sustainability points can be made within our own response, it is key that as many individuals as possible feed in their own personalised responses. It has been a habit in the past to provide copy and paste style letters to such consultations, but these will carry far less weight than truly personalised responses addressing how these changes impact each and every one of you.

On the 3rd January, we will be taking part in a BBC spotlight interview on these proposals. On the 4th January, we will be hosting an online angler engagement forum to present on our intended response to the consultation and conduct a Q&A. This will give you more information and advice on how you can respond to this consultation.  You can sign up for this event via the following link:

Consultation responses must be received by Devon and Severn IFCA by the 19th January. You can find all details on how to respond here:,on%2019th%20January%202024

In formulating your response, it is worth considering what the subcommittee of the IFCA has proposed as their rationale for this change:

Byelaw and Permitting Subcommittee (B&PSC) Rationale for Change

The rationale of the B&PSC Members for the opening of a fixed net fishery within the Salcombe Estuary is as follows:

  1. That the B&PSC considers that a mortality rate of 18.8% of bass, caught during the netting trials within Salcombe Estuary is acceptable.
  2. That the B&PSC recognises a reported decline in profitability in pot fisheries.
  3. That the B&PSC supports providing opportunities for commercial fishermen to diversify and boost their winter income by participating in a limited netting fishery within the Salcombe Estuary.
  4. That the B&PSC recognises that sea trout are present at an unknown scale, for feeding purposes, in the Salcombe Estuary but it is not a known migratory route.

Consultation responses should focus on elements to challenge the rationale given, in addition to how you foresee the changes impacting on yourself, the environment, fish stocks, wider economies and the local community.

Whilst we will not give the proposers the benefit of disclosing all of our evidence and challenges at this point, it is abundantly clear that the rationale offered does not hold up to even the slightest of scrutiny. The whole proposal is an appalling attempt by a minority to make a quick profit at the expense of sustainable fish stocks, other economic benefits, and the local environment.

The forum on the 4th January will go through each of the above points in some detail, but our Sea Angling Engagement Manager, Grant Jones, welcomes you reaching out to him to discuss anything about this matter in the meantime. His email is [email protected] and if you include a contact number he welcomes as many telephone conversations on this matter as necessary to achieve the result we all desire.

We will post regular updates on this but encourage as many as possible to attend the forum on the 4th January, and be prepared to file your own responses to the consultation ahead of the 19th January.

As recreational sea anglers, it’s essential to stay informed and engaged in matters that directly impact the health of our ocean and the future of our sport. The Angling Trust is committed to fighting for fish, fishing and the environment.

Become a member of the Angling Trust today and pledge your support.

Make sure you subscribe to our newsletter and join our Facebook group to be the first to know about the latest sea angling policy developments.

You might also like