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Law change to help protect Shellfish stocks

by 5m Editor
6 September 2006, at 1:00am

UK - New powers to help tackle illegal fishing in Scotland come into force from this week.

Law change to help protect Shellfish stocks - UK - New powers to help tackle illegal fishing in Scotland come into force from this week.

Measures in the Police, Public Order and Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act will allow the Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency (SFPA) to use its powers to detect, prevent and deter illegal fishing in areas managed under local agreements, known as Regulating Orders. The legislation extends these powers to the local management organisations also enabling them to enforce regulations themselves.

There are currently two Regulating Orders in Scotland operating licensed fisheries on the Solway Firth and around Shetland. Fisheries Minister Ross Finnie said: "We are committed to creating sustainable, profitable and well managed fisheries in Scotland.

"Regulating Orders can help us to achieve this goal by involving local bodies in the management of their fisheries. "These new provisions will help to address illegal fishing to the benefit of shellfish stocks, the many honest fishermen and the communities they support.

"I looking forward to seeing the benefits of improved enforcement in the two Regulating Orders we have to date and those we may have in the future, including as a result of IFGs coming on stream."

Chief Executive of the SFPA Paul Du Vivier said, "We welcome these new provisions and look forward to working in partnership with local management organisations to enhance enforcement around Shetland and on the Solway Firth."

The Shetland Shellfish Management Organisation said, "We are very pleased that these new provisions for the enforcement of Regulating Orders are now in place.

"We look forward to the SFPA taking up its enforcement role tackling illegal fishing in the Shetland Regulating Order and helping to ensure the long term viability of the fishery.

"Effective enforcement of the Shetland Regulating Order will help the SSMO manage and regulate the fishery to ensure its sustainability for the benefit of future generations.

Cllr Jock Purdie, Chairman of the Solway Shellfish Management Association said, "Illegal fishing for cockles in the Solway has caused particular concern over recent months.

"These new provisions are therefore very timely. We look forward to working closely with the SFPA using these new powers to help prevent such illegal fishing in future. "An effectively enforced Solway Regulating Order will help with our efforts to ensure the long term viability of the fishery for the future."

Background

A Regulating Order covers named species of shellfish within a specific area of inshore or tidal waters. Regulating Orders remain in force for a fixed period not normally exceeding 20 years. They enable the grantee of the RO, with the consent of Scottish Ministers, to impose restrictions and regulations in relation to the dredging, fishing for and taking of shellfish of specified kinds within the defined RO area.

In effect, a Regulating Order grants management responsibility for a local shellfishery to a particular person or body, known as the grantee, to encourage the maintenance and regulation of a shellfishery.

The Partnership Agreement covering the Scottish Executive programme from 2003 to 2007 included a commitment to "legislate to permit enforcement of regulating orders within the range of activities of the SFPA."

The Shetland Regulating Order covers a range of shellfish species. It came into effect on 31 January 2000 and runs for 10 years. Under the new enforcement arrangements the SFPA will enforce the Regulating Order on behalf of the grantee (the Shetland Shellfish Management Organisation) and the arrangements for this are set out in a Memorandum of Understanding between the two Organisations.

The Solway Regulating Order covers cockle fishing. It came into effect on 13 March 2006 and runs until September 2011. Under these new enforcement arrangements, the SFPA and the grantee (the Solway Shellfish Management Association) intend to enforce the Regulating Order jointly. Again, this arrangement will be underpinned by a Memorandum of Understanding between the two parties.

TheFishSite News Desk

5m Editor