Minimum sizes

Minimum sizes of fish commonly caught in the North Sea

Fish species MLS
Seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax)  Seabass 42cm
Cod (Gadus morhua)  Gadus morkua 35cm
Haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus)  Melanogramnius aeglefinus 30cm
Herring (Clupea harengus)  Herring 20cm
Ling (Molva molva)  Unesa umoluva 63cm
Mackerel (Scomber spp.)  Scomber scombus 30cm
Pollack (Pollachius pollachius)  Pollachios pollachius 30cm
Coalfish (Pollachius virens)  Pollachinus virens 35cm
Whiting (Merlangius merlangus)  Whiting 27cm
Megrim (Lepidorhombus spp.)  Megrim 20cm
Plaice (Pleuronectes platessa)  Pleurohectes platessa 27cm
Sole (Solea solea)  Solea solea 24cm



Recommended minimum retention sizes for species without a statutory MLS

There is no statutory minimum landing size for the following species commonly caught within the NIFCA district, however in order to ensure that all fish have the chance to breed at least once before retention, the following minimum retention sizes are recommended by the Angling Trust. For further information see:

Species Recommended MLS
Dab 25cm
Flounder 30cm
Grey mullet 47cm
Gurnard 25cm
Pouting 25cm
Turbot 46cm
Wrasse Unknown



Minimum sizes of shellfish commonly caught in the North Sea

Shellfish species   MLS
Lobster (Homarus gammarus)  lobster

87mm carapace length


Brown crab (Cancer pagurus)  cancer pagurus

130mm carapace width


Velvet crab (Necora puber)  Necora puber 65mm carapace width
Scallop (Pecten maximus) Pecta amximus

100mm shell width



Nephrops (Nephrops norvegicus)  nephrops

25mm carapace length

85mm total length

46mm tails

Spider crab (Maia squinado)  Maja Squinado

Males: 130mm carapace length

Females: 120mm carapace length



Details are correct at the time of going to press but can be subject to change.  Your local Marine Management Organisation (MMO) office can confirm the up to date position.