Protecting Chesil Beach Sole Fishery: Angling Trust Fights for 1-Mile Recreational Zone in Lyme Bay

The Angling Trust is supporting the call for further management measures in Lyme Bay to protect the sole fishery. We’re pushing for a dedicated recreational-only zone, spanning 1 mile from the shoreline across Beer head to Portland, to preserve iconic angling spots like Chesil Beach. With local anglers raising concerns about declining sole catches, both in numbers and size, we’re on a mission to safeguard this beloved sole fishery.

In addition to the 1-mile recreational zone we’re backing other crucial measures:

  • Raising the minimum landing size to 28cm for sole in 7e, aligning with the size at which 50% of sole are considered sexually mature.
  • Increasing the minimum mesh size for fixed nets to 127mm when targeting sole inside 30E6 and 30E7
  • Enhancing selectivity for scallop dredges, such as implementing an escape mechanism for fish, when fishing inside 30E6 and 30E7
  • Implementing a separate catch limit for commercial sole fishing up to 12nm in Lyme Bay, distinct from the rest of 7e

The Angling Trust have concerns over the local status of the sole stock, and associated habitat destruction, caused by commercial bottom-towed gears operating in the area. While overall catch data is showing that the sole fishery is slowly growing year on year in Lyme Bay, anglers fishing off Chesil Beach often seen a different story. Anglers are seeing a decline in both size of the fish and catches, often witnessing a complete disappearance of sole following commercial fishers operating close inshore.

Lyme Bay is a haven for sea anglers, especially during the summer season when anglers flock to its shores. Without action, the declining quality of angling experiences in the area poses a significant economic threat to local coastal communities as potential revenue is lost to businesses like tackle shops, hotels and restaurants.

The Angling Trust is asking all sea anglers who regularly fish around Lyme Bay, and those who enjoy the odd visit on their holidays, to participate in the quick and easy consultation. Your voice matters in determining the future of sole fishing in Lyme Bay.

It takes just 5 minutes of your time. Respond to the consultation now:

Together, let’s ensure our concerns are heard and secure a bright future for sea angling in Lyme Bay.

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