Riparian owners and fishing rights
Riparian owners and fishing rights

The following Property practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Riparian owners and fishing rights
  • Riparian ownership
  • Extent of ownership
  • Rights and responsibilities of riparian owners other than fishing rights
  • Fishing rights
  • Ownership of fishing rights
  • Transfer of fishing rights
  • Landlord and Tenant Act 1954
  • Protection of fishing rights
  • Statutory licensing

Riparian ownership

This Practice Note looks at riparian ownership of non-tidal waterways, dealing with the fishing rights which may attach to such ownership and provides links to other relevant content on the extent of the ownership of land adjoining waterways and the rights and responsibilities which can accompany ownership of land adjoining a river or stream.

Extent of ownership

There is a presumption that the owner of land adjoining a natural, non-tidal river or stream also owns the riverbed up to the centre line of the river or stream. Where the land on either side of the river or stream is in separate ownership, each owner owns half the river bed.

This presumption will only operate where there is no evidence to the contrary.

For more detailed content on the extent of ownership of land adjoining waterways (including lakes, tidal waters and the effect of accretion and diluvion), see Practice Notes: Property boundaries — Presumptions and The ‘ad medium filum’ rule.

Rights and responsibilities of riparian owners other than fishing rights

Riparian ownership can bring with it certain rights and responsibilities arising under both common law and statute.

These rights and responsibilities are discussed in more detail in Practice Note: Riparian ownership—rights and responsibilities.

Generally, at common law, a riparian owner does not own the water in the river or stream within their boundary but is entitled to the usual flow of

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