About Us

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Who We Are and What We Do

Organisational information, locations and contacts, constitutional and legal governance.

There are 10 Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities in England. The 10 IFCAs are committees or joint committees of local government. The principal objective of the AIFCA is to carry on business of providing representation and support for the inshore fisheries and conservation authorities.

The Association of IFCAs is a private company limited by guarantee without share capital. The name of the Company is the Association of Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities Ltd. Company Number 07678190.

The Association is governed by a Board of Directors and a Members Forum. The Members Forum is composed on the Chairman and Chief Officer of the 10 IFCAs in England. The Members Forum appoint a chairman and vice chairman from the membership; the Chairman and Vice Chairman join the Chief Officers who act as the Directors of the AIFCA.

Associate Members of the IFCA are invited to be members of the AIFCA Members Forum. Association members include fisheries management Authorities from elsewhere in the UK and the Crown Dependencies.

Full details of the articles of Association of the AIFCA can be found HERE

Day to Day running of the AIFCA is delivered through the AIFCA team

What & how we spend

The association is a membership organisation and the main source of income is via subscription. Since 2011 the 10 IFCAs in England have paid a subscription of £12,000 per annual to the AIFCA. In 2021 This subscription was increased to £13,000 which is the amount that each IFCA receives in their New Burdens Funding from Defra to support the role of an Association.

As a company limited by guarantee we produce annual accounts which are submitted to Company’s House. Full details of the association’s income and expenditure can be found HERE.

How we make decisions

The AIFCA Members Forum & its Directors meet quarterly and holds an Annual General Meeting in June each year.

Policy proposal and decision-making processes are undertaken in accordance with the AIFCA Articles of Association.

What our priorities are and how we are doing

In April 2021 The AIFCA approved a Business Plan for 2021 to 2024 which can be view HERE. The Plan states that the AIFCA is the national voice of IFCAs working with committees to support, promote and improve. There are four main activities identified under the plan.

The AIFCA Business Plan establishes priorities and an Annual Delivery Plan sets out the priorities for delivery. A copy of the Annual Delivery Plan can be found HERE

Our policies and procedures

The policies and procedures of the association may be found HERE and minutes of the most recent meetings may be found below. Minutes of the last meeting of the Members Forum remain in draft until approved at the next meeting.

Overall Aim & Vision

To support effective engagement and to participate effectively with regional and national stakeholders so as to deliver the collective Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities vision which is to:

  • Campaign to influence the agenda and secure funding and powers on behalf of IFCAs and we promote and defend the reputation of effective inshore management.
  • Assist and promote the ten regional IFCAs to ensure that the authorities develop a leading and effective national role in fisheries and conservation management in line with the IFCA vision.
  • Promote the importance of regional decision making in inshore fisheries and conservation management through the democratically accountable structures of IFCAs.

IFCA History

Britain has always been a maritime nation, with a long heritage of sea based activities. But the sea is not an easy place to understand or look after for the long term benefit of all. For centuries we have used the sea without due consideration for the long term impacts. Indeed in the early 20th century it was still considered that the sea was inexhaustible.

A new approach is needed and we are now at an exciting time with a fundamental shift in our cultural approach to marine management. Replacing single issue management dealing (often badly) with our uses of the sea, we are beginning to understand the inter-related nature of all the resources.

All the various marine stakeholders need to pull together to achieve the long term goal and vision of healthy seas providing “ecosystem services” for the future.

To achieve this, the Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (IFCAs) were set up in April 2011 as a new type of regulator to work with stakeholder groups to achieve this common aim in English Inshore waters. The IFCAs replaced the Sea Fisheries Committees with extended responsibilities not only to achieve sustainable inshore fisheries, but also to help achieve conservation objectives. Of course they need to work in strong partnership with Government and other regulators with the aim of securing the future of the seas and the benefits we all get from them.

To help the IFCAs meet these challenges, the Association of IFCAs was put into place in September 2011 to assist the ten individual IFCAs at a national level and to promote IFCA achievements. It is early days in the implantation of the IFCA and Association plans, but already they are taking a lead role in delivering sustainable seas in the 0-6 nautical mile zone and working actively with the Marine Management Organisation where sites are further offshore.

The AIFCA Team

Tony Tomlinson MBE

Tony Tomlinson MBE


Tony is a retired skipper/owner of trawlers fishing around Cornwall for more than 30 years.  Awarded an MBE for services to the industry in 2006, he has been Chair of Cornwall IFCA since late 2010.  Currently Chair of the Association of IFCAs, Chair of Cornwall FLAG and Deputy Chair of Falmouth Harbour Commissioners.

Les Weller

Les Weller

Vice Chairman

Les is a retired London Police Officer now living in North Northumberland and has had an interest for all forms of recreational angling since the age of 5, in particular within the sea and a passion for conservation within the marine environment.  Les was fully engaged in all iterations of “Net Gain” helping form the Marine Conservations Zones for the North East.  He is a qualified Sport England angling coach and an active shore and small boat angler. 

He joined Northumberland Sea Fisheries Committee in 2008 and successfully applied for Northumberland IFCA in 2010 and has served as Vice and currently Chairman and is currently Vice Chair for the Association of IFCA and a Harbour commissioner for Seahouses.

Robert Clark

Robert Clark

Chief Officer

Robert Clark, BSc. (Hons.), M.Sc., MBA., MIFM is the AIFCAs Chief Officer. Robert joined the AIFCA from the Southern IFCA, where he was Chief Executive Officer. Robert has over 20 years experience in inshore fisheries management and has held a number of other senior leadership roles within IFCAs, including as Chief Officer at Southern IFCA (2013 to 2020), Chairman of the IFCA Chief Officers Group, Chairman of the IFCA Technical Advisory Group, and was also an Acting Chief Officer. Previously he has worked at sea in fisheries compliance & enforcement as well as a fisheries scientist.

He has published works on fisheries policy and marine protected area management. He  has served on inshore and offshore lifeboats for the RNLI. More recently he led the development of the largest aquaculture production area in England and the management of the Poole Harbour Clam and Cockle fishery; which was awarded the MSC Innovation Award and the Fishing News Sustainability Award.

Tim Smith

Tim Smith

Senior Policy Officer

Tim has over 14 years of applied experience in marine environmental and fisheries science. He joined the AIFCA from the North Eastern IFCA after 10 years in inshore fisheries management where he was part of the senior management team. In his role as Senior Scientist (2017 to 2022) his work focussed on shellfish ecology, policy and byelaw development, fisheries impacts and protected area assessments. He has also held the position of Chairman of the IFCA Technical Advisory Group. Prior to his time with the IFCAs he worked at the Institute of Estuarine and Coastal Studies at the University of Hull.

Simon Pengelly

Simon Pengelly

Senior Technical Officer - Joined April 2023

Simon has developed a comprehensive technical experience of inshore fisheries management through over 15 years of applied experience in English waters. In his role as a Senior Specialist and Team Leader at Southern IFCA Simon principally focussed on the delivery of the Authority’s research and evidence programme and MPA and byelaw development, with an emphasis on co-management through stakeholder engagement.

Simon led the delivery of the AIFCA’s MPA Management Project (2019-2020), delivering a national database and mapping tool for fisheries management measures in inshore MPAs, launched to MPs and Ministers at an event hosted in the Houses of Parliament. Simon’s previous roles include both the Chair and Secretariat positions of the IFCA Technical Advisory Group and practical experience of the delivery of inshore fisheries compliance and Southern IFCA.

Lists and Registers

Information held in registers required by law and other lists and registers relating to the functions of the authority.
The AIFCA holds a Database of those who have opted to receive information about the work of the AIFCA in accordance with the requirements of the GDPR. The AIFCA files records in accordance with the reporting requirements of Companies House. Further details may be found HERE

The Services we Offer

We provide a point of contact for central government, other agencies and NGOs on national relevant to IFCAs.

Details of the guidance, booklets and leaflets, transactions and media releases are found on our website https://www.association-ifca.org.uk/

Day to Day running of the AIFCA is delivered through the AIFCA Team detailed above.

it is only by leading, championing and managing a sustainable marine environment and inshore fisheries that we can be successful as an Association.

Tony Tomlinson MBE

Chairman, Association of IFCA