Fisheries & Conservation Officers

Fisheries & Conservation Officers are employed to protect our fisheries and promote responsible fishing. One of their roles is to ensure compliance with fishing regulations.

These regulations are in place to ensure our fisheries resources are sustainable and our impacts on the marine environment are minimised.

How will I recognise a Fisheries & Conservation Officer?

Fisheries & Conservation Officers typically wear a uniform, but may not be in uniform while on duty. An officer will always display official identification when they approach you, which will include an identification card, the NEIFCA logo and the Officer’s name.

What can I expect during an inspection?

During a routine fisheries inspection, you can expect a fisheries & conservation officer to:

  • give you information about your obligations in relation to fishing
  • ask you to produce a current fishing permit, or evidence of an exemption
  • ask to access your bag, fishing equipment, container, vehicle or vessel for inspection
  • measure and count fish in your possession to check compliance with regulations

The conduct of officers is governed by a number of NEIFCA policies which can be viewed here.

Officers are issued with body worn cameras that may be used during inspections. Officers will inform you when these are active and their use and storage of data is governed by our GDPR policy which can be found here.

What powers do Fisheries & Conservation Officers have to protect fisheries?

Fisheries & Conservation Officers can by law:

  • stop a vessel, vehicle or person to carry out an inspection
  • enter a commercial premises to carry out an inspection
  • search any equipment such as baskets, cool boxes or other containers
  • seize any fish, fishing gear or other equipment that have been used in an alleged offence or is in the possession of a suspected offender.

What happens if I am detected committing an offence?

If detected or the officers believe you have committed an offence they will:

  • present their warrant card for identification purposes
  • issue a legal caution
  • request your personal details such as full name, date of birth and home address
  • issue a seizure receipt if any fish, property or documents are seized
  • issue an inspection receipt
  • advise you of the likely course of action

What are the compliance options used by Fisheries & Conservation Officers?

Options range from providing educational material to prosecutions. Where it is apparent that a breach of the legislation has occurred, NEIFCA will take the appropriate action depending on the severity of the offence.

Compliance options include:

  • education
  • verbal and official warnings
  • issuing a financial administrative penalty
  • prosecution

What happens if I don’t comply with a fisheries & conservation officer’s directions?

During an inspection or enquiry, an officer may request certain things of you in accordance with their legislative powers. This can include personal information such as your name, address and date of birth, or access to storage containers, vehicles and vessels under your control.

Failure to comply with a lawful request from an officer may result in you being charged with obstruction and summonsed to appear before a court.

Get in touch with us

Have you got a question? Use the form here to ask us, or contact us directly using our details below.

01482 393515

Town Hall,
Quay Road,
YO16 4LP

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