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UK Magnet Fishing Laws, Is It Legal?

A photo of someone being arrested for magnet fishing

Andy Baines

Chief Magnet Fisher And Writer Around Here.

I have been a keen magnet fishing enthusiast for the best part of 6 years now and have picked up a lot of cool tips and ideas along the way. I share them here on Hobby Magnet Fishing to hopefully help and inspire you to take part in the hobby.

You can read more about my journey on the About Page.

Have you read my complete guide to magnet fishing? In it a talk briefly about the UK magnet fishing laws but this guide is going to let you know everything you need to know.

Like everything in life there are rules and laws governing it, magnet fishing is no exception to this. So before you set out on an adventure it is best to get clued up on them so that you do not end up getting in trouble.

I have read so many other magnet fishing blogs and websites and it seems there is so much misinformation out there. I have decided to thoroughly research the UK magnet fishing laws so that you know the truth. After all I do not want anybody to get I’m trouble with the law or the hobbies reputation tarnished.

So is there any laws that make magnet fishing illegal in the UK?

There is no single law that says magnet fishing is illegal in the United Kindom. However there is a byelaw from 1965 that states it is an offence to dredge a canal owned by the Canals and Rivers Trust. This would therefore make it illegal to magnet fish in a canal.

So in reality you can magnet fish legally in the UK as long as it is not a canal owned by the Canals and Rivers Trust.

I would like to go into a little more detail about this byelaw so that you know exactly what you can and cannot do.

The 1965 bylaw that makes magnet fishing a UK canal an offence.

This byelaw which is actually over 50 years old was first created a long time before magnet fishing was even invented.

Below is the actual byelaw:

British Waterways Board General Canal Byelaws 1965, namely Byelaw 41(d) which states: –

No person unless authorised by the Board in that behalf or otherwise legally entitled to do so shall…dredge or remove coal or other material from any canal.”

So as you can see there is no mention at all of the words magnet fishing however dragging a magnet through a canal is a form of dredging as it disturbs any sediments at the bottom.

If you do decide to magnet fish in a canal owned by the Canals and River Trust and are caught there is actually a £100 fine enforced by prosecution.

It appears to me that the Canals and Rivers Trust have decided to bring up this Byelaw due to the increasing popularity of magnet fishing.

Some irresponsible magnet fishers have been leaving piles of scrap by the canal banks. Also there have been instances of people find unexploded ordinance and they fear an accident happen.

The Canals and River Trust actually put a statement out on their website confirming this reasoning. If you are interested you can read it at this link.

In conclusion.

So what have we learnt from this research?

We can conclude that magnet fishing is not illegal in the UK however due to old Byelaws there are some restrictions on where we can go magnet fishing. Magnet fishing in a UK canal would be one of the restricted areas.

However do not worry there are plenty of other places that you could go magnet fishing.

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