Minimum legal sizes

The Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority currently apply the following minimum legal sizes for fish and crustacea.

Fish Sizes

It is the overall length of a fish that is measured from the tip of the head to the end of the tail fin as in the diagram:


WHITING (merlangius merlangus) 27 cm
COD (gadus morhua) 35 cm
HERRING (clupea harengus) 20 cm
POLLACK (pollachius pollachius) 30 cm
SAITHE (pollachius virens 35 cm
MACKEREL (scomber scomber) 20 cm
HORSE MACKEREL (trachurus trachurus) 15 cm
PLAICE (pleuronectes platessa) 27 cm
LING (molva molva) 63 cm
HAKE 27 cm
BASS  (dicentrachus labrax) 36 cm
DOVER SOLE (solea solea) 24 cm


Crab are measured across the shell. Whereas lobster it is the length of the shell (carapace) that is measured.

Measurecrab measurelobster

LOBSTER (Homarus gammarus) 87 mm carapace length
EDIBLE CRAB (Cancer pagurus) 140 mm carapace width
VELVET CRAB (Necora puber) 65 mm carapace width
SPIDER CRAB (Maia squinado) 130 mm (males)         120 mm (females) carapace length
CRAWFISH (Palinurus spp.) 95 mm carapace length


Although the following fish do not have legal limits placed on the size that you can land, the following sizes are recommended minimum by the Sussex Sea Fisheries District Committee:

Black Sea Bream (spondyliosoma cantharus) 26cm
Brill (scopthalmus rhombus) 34cm
Dab (limanda limanda) 17cm
Flounder (platichthys flesus) 23cm
Turbot (scopthalmus maximus) 34cm
Garfish (belone belone) 43cm
Red Gurnard (aspitrigla cuculus) 32cm
Conger eel (conger conger) 66cm
Tope (galeorhinus galeus) 72cm
Dog fish (schyliorinus canicula) 23cm


In general we encourage people to fish sensibly. To only catch the amount that they are going eat. We do not allow fish caught to be sold.