Minimum fish sizes

Information on the minimum fish size you are allowed to take by law from the sea. The list below does not include all fish species but commonly caught fish people take for the table. If in doubt put it back, it’s better to have a healthy breeding population and only take decent size fish. There isn’t really much to eat on the smaller fish.

Minimum Fish sizes

Species Scientific name MCRS in UK waters*
Anchovy Engraulis encrasicolus Whole area, except ICES division IXa east of longitude 7° 23′ 48″ W: 12 cm or 90 individuals/kg.ICES division IXa east of longitude 7° 23′ 48″ W:10cm
Bass Dicentrarchus labrax 42 cm (1)
Blue ling Molva dipterygia 70 cm
Cod Gadus morhua 35 cm
Haddock Melanogrammus aeglefinus 30 cm
Hake Merluccius merluccius 27 cm
Herring Clupea harengus 20 cm
Horse mackerel Trachurus spp. 15 cm
Ling Molva molva 63 cm
Mackerel Scomber spp. Whole area, except North Sea: 20 cm.North Sea: 30 cm
Megrim Lepidorhombus spp. 20 cm
Plaice Pleuronectes platessa 27 cm
Pollack Pollachius pollachius 30 cm
Red Sea Bream Pagellus bogaraveo 33 cm (2)
Saithe (Coalfish) Pollachius virens 35 cm
Sardine Sardina pilchardus 11 cm
Sole Solea spp. 24 cm
Whiting Merlangius merlangus 27 cm

This is taken from the UK gov marine management organisation and are the minimum conservation reference sizes for UK waters.

There is however one large exception to the above rules, that is regarding Bass. For the remainder of the year (2018) it is against the law to remove any Bass regardless of size. This exert has been taken from the .gov website.

  1. Recreational Bass fishing

For recreational fishers, any bass caught during 2018 must be returned immediately. This applies if you are fishing from a boat or from the shore.

This is currently being challenged by the EAA, you can read about it in more detail HERE