Gurnards, Squid and Dogfish – But What About Smooth hound? Sea Anglers Invited to Share Views on Southern North Sea FMP

Recreational anglers are invited to share their views with the Marine Management Organisation as part of the Southern North Sea Non-Quota Species (NQS) Fisheries Management Plan (FMP) which is currently in development.   

The list of species covered by this Fisheries Management Plan are:

  • cuttlefish  
  • grey gurnards       
  • red gurnards    
  • tub gurnards    
  • John dory   
  • lesser spotted dogfish    
  • octopus    
  • squid    
  • Surmullet   

Many of the most recreationally important fish for the region, such as skates and rays, bass and flatfish species, are covered by other Fisheries Management Plans. While there are ongoing changes in fish distribution, this is an odd mixture of fish to include in the plan. We welcome recognition for the potential of an emerging recreational squid fishery in the region though.

Unlike the Channel Demersal Non-Quota Species Fisheries Management Plan, smooth hound are not covered by the Southern North Sea equivalent plan. Given the recreational importance of smooth hound to anglers in the region, the Angling Trust feel this is a major omission and are urging the Marine Management Organisation to reconsider and to align this plan with the Channel. 

As the name suggests, the Southern North Sea Non-Quota Species (NQS) Fisheries Management Plan will cover the Southern North Sea – more specifically ICES areas 4B and 4C (see the map below)


The Marine Management Organisation are very keen to hear from recreational anglers on their views and concerns for the listed species in the region, and their aspirations for this fisheries management plan. 

Over the winter there will be a series of engagement workshops held at ports around the Southern North Sea. These events can be found below. 

Tuesday 5th December 2023  11am – 1pm  Quayside  Harwich 
Tuesday 5th December 2023  4pm – 7pm  Dabchicks Sailing Club  West Mersea 
Wednesday 6th December 2023  10am – 12pm  Lowestoft Library (Everett Room)  Lowestoft 
Wednesday 6th December 2023  3pm – 4pm  Quayside/Lobster Hatchery  Wells 
Thursday 7th December 2023  9am – 10am  Eastern IFCA Office  Kings Lynn 
Thursday 7th December 2023  3pm – 4pm  Harbour Masters Office  Bridlington 
Friday 8th December 2023  11am – 1pm  Hodgsons Staff Room, Quayside  Hartlepool 
Friday 8th December 2023  3pm – 5pm  Quayside – MMO Fish Room  North Shields 

The Angling Trust are represented on the Working Group for the development of the Southern North Sea Non-Quota Seas Fisheries Management Plan, and we warmly welcome views and concerns from our membership on priorities for this plan. You can get in touch with us at [email protected]   

Compared with the first round of fisheries management plans – which recently closed for public consultation – the turnaround on this plan is rapid with an expected deadline in spring 2024 for the draft to be finalised before going to public consultation.  

At the same time, the Southern North Sea and English Channel Skates and Rays Fisheries Management Plan is also in development with the Marine Management Organisation eager to hear from recreational anglers as this plan progress too. Engagement events for the skates and rays plan begin on Mon 13th November 2023. For more information please visit:

You can learn more about fisheries management plans here. 

 The draft Southern North Sea Non-Quota Species FMP is being prepared by the Marine Management Organisation who can be contacted at [email protected]  

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. 

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