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NEW bans on certain types of fishing have come into force in parts of the Solent in a bid to protect sensitive areas of reef and seagrass.

The bylaws, made by the Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA), protect the locally and internationally important habitats of seagrass and rocky reef habitats in the coastal waters of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

They apply to trawling and dredging and bait collectors and hand gatherers working in seagrass beds.

The bylaws also protect important fish and shellfish nursery areas for the benefit of both commercial and recreational fishers, Southern IFCA said.

The bans, which cover 670 square kilometres of seabed, have been brought in after public consultation was undertaken.

Southern IFCA is responsible for the management of inshore fisheries in the coastal waters off Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight.

Robert Clark, chief officer of Southern IFCA, said: “Our coastal fisheries are very important and the introduction of these bylaws and the support and participation of the community in their development is a significant milestone in the sustainable management of our coastal waters.

“These new bylaws protect important habitats and it is these habitats that support our important coastal fisheries.”