Until the 4th of December 1970 the jurisdiction for the waters around the Isles of Scilly was uncertain as it was not controlled by a local Committee, nor was it technically part of Cornish waters. However, following a vigorous campaign by legendary fisherman and local lifeboat coxswain, Matt Lethbridge, pictured alongside, a Statutory Instrument was made (1970 No. 1815), and The Isles of Scilly Sea Fisheries District Order 1970 came into being.

In 1973 the first Byelaw was made restricting vessels of over 10 tonnes gross tonnage and 36 feet in registered length from fishing within 3 nautical miles of the baselines around the islands.

This was amended in 1997 to metric measurement (11 metres overall length) and the jurisdiction of the Isles of Scilly District extended to 6 nautical miles.

The old Sea Fisheries Committee was closed on 31st March 2011 with the passing of the Marine and Coastal Access Act and the creation of the Isles of Scilly Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority.

Due to a generous 100% funding grant from Defra a patrol vessel was purchased, a Humber 7m Ocean Pro equipped with electronic facilities for the dual role of enforcement and environmental monitoring. The vessel was a major part of the Queen’s visit to the islands in June 2011 when the boat was named “Matt Lethbridge” in honour of the man who did so much to establish sea fisheries management in the Isles of Scilly.

Today, the Isles of Scilly IFCA is funded to an appropriate level in order to administer and manage the district out to the 6 nautical mile boundary and enjoys a close and co-operative relationship with the local fishermen.
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