Littlehampton has a small fleet of LI registered commercial fishing vessels, the majority of which can be found moored on the west bank south of the footbridge and at Littlehampton Marina. These vessels can be seen landing their catches at their moorings or at the dedicated Commercial Fishing Landing Point on the river walk next to the Riverside Fish Kiosk.
To foster and conserve the commercial fishing fleet in Littlehampton, current LI registered commercial fishing vessels are exempted from harbour dues and do not pay additional dues on their catches like in most other harbours.
Most commercial fishing boats that operate off the Sussex Coast are under 10m in length and operate inshore, usually within six nautical miles (nm) of the coast. These boats land their catch daily. Most of the fleet is multi-purpose, operating throughout the year in pursuit of whichever stock (and or quota) is available during the relevant season. For example, sole are fished in the spring and autumn, bass are targeted in the summer and cod in the winter.
These smaller inshore vessels use a variety of static and mobile gears. Gill, trammel and entangling net fishing takes place widely in the region. Other methods include trawling, beam trawling, pair trawling, drift netting, and scallop and oyster dredging. There is also an important fishery potting for whelk, lobster and brown crab and a cuttlefish trap fishery.
More information on commercial fishing can be found on the Sussex Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authority (Sussex IFCA)’s website.
Commercial Fishing vessels should also be aware of the new International Labour Organization’s Work in Fishing Convention ILO 188 regulation which came into force in the UK in December 2018. More guidance on how to comply is available here.
Littlehampton Harbour Board also welcomes periodic visits from Fishermen’s Mission staff who stand by to provides emergency support alongside practical, financial, spiritual and emotional care to fishermen and their families.