Working with others: Sea Fisheries Committees

There are twelve Sea Fisheries Committees (SFCs) that regulate local sea fisheries around virtually the entire coast of England and Wales out to 6 nautical miles. SFCs were established in the 19th century and are empowered to make byelaws for the management and conservation of their districts' fisheries. Bylaws can apply to all fishing activities within the District, whether from the shore or from a vessel. In 1995 their powers were widened to include the control of fisheries in their districts for marine environmental purposes. SFCs work in co-operation with stakeholders on both a local and national level to deliver effective fisheries management in the inshore marine area.  

There are over 115 staff working for the 12 SFCs and the Committee membership consists of Defra appointees, local authority members and the Environment Agency.  Bylaws developed by the SFCs cover a range of issues relating to the marine environment within their district and can include commercial, recreational and environmental matters. Defra’s role in relation to the SFCs is to appoint a fixed number of members to each Committee and to confirm any byelaws developed by the Committees. Defra has no powers to direct SFCs in how they manage fisheries within their Districts.

SFCs are members of the Association of Sea Fisheries Committees (ASFC) which came into being in 1919. The ASFC represents the national interests of SFCs and promotes those interests to Government and to other inshore fisheries and environmental stakeholders.

For more information on the work carried out by SFCs, please visit their individual websites (PDF 21 KB).

For information on guidance that governs SFCs please see our guidance on the role of SFCs (PDF 26 KB).

For contact details of SFCs please see our SFCs contacts list (PDF 39 KB).

Looking forward

In June 2006, following extensive stakeholder consultation and reviews,  the Minister announced his decision to modernise the legislation surrounding inshore fisheries management and replace Sea Fisheries Committees with Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities to deliver improved management of fisheries and the marine environment in England.

This work has been taken forward through the Government’s Marine & Coastal Access Bill. To find out more about IFCAs and the implementation planning that is underway; please visit the Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities pages of the Marine and Fisheries website.

Page last modified: 04 March 2009
Page published: 11 January 2008