Regional Fisheries Groups

Regional Fisheries Groups (RFGs) are a way for the fishing industry to come together to share views with organisations such as the MMO, Defra, Cefas, and IFCA.

There are five Regional Fisheries Groups:

Below you can find more information on RFG’s, including the dates of our next meetings and the notes from previous meetings, relevant to each region.

Contact Details

If you would like to attend a Regional Fisheries Group meeting, comment on previous minutes or contribute in any other way please contact the MMO Regional fisheries Mailbox:


Winter 2023 edition

RFG Newsletters Summer 2023

Summer 2023 edition

RFG Newsletters Summer 2023

Winter 2022 edition

RFG Newsletter Winter 2022

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Autumn 2022 edition

RFG Newsletter Autumn 2022

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Where did RFGs originate?

These groups exist to give local fishers a chance to be part of the decision-making process for managing fisheries and share their expertise.

In December 2020, Defra and the MMO organised a workshop for the inshore fishing fleet. The aim of the workshop was to foster collaborative working and address regionally specific issues.

Participants at the workshop discussed cross-sector working, identified priorities, and shared their preferences for local areas. By the end of the meeting, there was agreement on the concept of Regional Fisheries Groups and the approach.

Aim of the RFGs

Our aim is to give a formal route for fishers to share their views and experience in decisions affecting their livelihoods. We want to build stronger working relationships between people who regulate the industry and the fishing community. By doing this, everyone involved in fisheries management can have a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities faced by the fishing industry regionally.

RFGs will do this by…

  • Providing a formal method of engagement predominantly for inshore fishers and others who may feel they are not represented by a wider national group.
  • Building more collaborative and trusting working relationships between policy makers, regulators, and the fishing sector at a regional level, and recognising the knowledge they hold.
  • Giving industry an active role in regional fisheries management decision making and provide an opportunity for them to influence regional decisions.
  • Working together to better understand the challenges and opportunities facing the industry at a regional level so the government can help them to take advantage of opportunities for the future of the industry.


  • Formal meetings are held up to three times a year.
  • The RFG team visit ports and fishing locations in person encouraging one to one conversations with fishers.
  • The RFG team is available during the working hours of 9am - 5pm Monday to Friday to answer calls, texts or emails.

If you’re interested in attending an RFG meeting or contributing in any other way, contact the team at:

Lyme Bay - Anonymously report lost or damaged gear

Please use this anonymous reporting form for lost or damaged gear within Lyme Bay ICES Rectangles 30E6 and 30E7 inside 12nm

In May and June 2023 a consultation and workshop were help to discuss potential new management measures for the sole fishery in Lyme Bay. One of the outcomes of the workshop was the development of this form which will help feed into a data gap on gear loss and damage in Lyme Bay.

The data collected from this form will directly feed into a meeting on the potential for temporary spatial separation between gear types in early 2024. At this meeting, the industry will be asked to decide whether they would like any measures implementing, and whether these would be voluntary.

Lyme Bay Code of Conduct

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has responded to concerns from fishermen that an increase in sole quota has led to conflict and potentially overfishing in Lyme Bay.

The MMO and Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authorities (IFCA) have been investigating the issue and have created a steering group to oversee the investigation. The Steering group includes representative fishers from the Lyme Bay Community Interest Company, and other ports outside of Lyme Bay, as well as the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), IFCA, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture (Cefas) and MMO representatives.

At a recent steering group meeting, a Code of Conduct for sole fishing with gill nets in Lyme Bay was agreed as follows:

Note: (This code of conduct applies to the area defined inside a line from Beer Head to Portland)

  • A minimum mesh size 5 inches (127mm) for gill nets targeting sole.
  • All fixed nets should be marked with a buoy showing the PLN of the vessel at both ends of the net.
  • Flags and radar reflectors are used where possible and practical to mark the location of nets.

Note: That these are best practice recommendations and not law.

  • The first recommendation is to support the sole population by letting smaller soles increase their opportunity to breed.
  • The second is to help prevent gear conflict by increasing the visibility of net locations to prevent them being towed in trawl gear, and so that other netting vessels can avoid setting nets over nets already set.

Additional Information

Useful links

The MMO is working with Cefas and other organisations to develop a scientific investigation into the impacts increased fishing in Lyme Bay is having on sole populations, the marine environment, and the potential socio-economic impacts on fishers. This work involves the use of MMO data from logbooks, the Catch App and from observers, to analyse catches as well as other possible work to look at the wider sole population.

Published 25 August 2021
Last updated 251 JulyDecember 2023 + show all updates
  1. Linked to winter edition newsletters added.

  2. Added anonymous reporting form

  3. Update of page content to improve quality of information and accessibility .

  4. RFG Newsletter Winter 2022 published.

  5. Lyme Bay Social Findings

  6. Regional Fisheries Groups Winter 2022 Newsletter published.

  7. Update with meet the team

  8. Code of Conduct - update

  9. Updated

  10. Page updated with 4b & 7a meeting notes

  11. updated RFG group minutes

  12. South Update

  13. Page updated with RFG Meeting Notes North East 16.11.2021

  14. NW notes

  15. Update

  16. Update