An AFCD spokesman noted that the Fisheries Protection (Amendment) Ordinance 2012 (Cap 171) came into force on June 15, 2012, to implement a series of fisheries management measures with a view to bringing the local fisheries industry back to a sustainable path.
Under Cap 171, no person may be engaged in fishing with the use or aid of a vessel in Hong Kong waters, unless:
(i) the vessel is a registered vessel;
(ii) the person is so engaged under and in accordance with a valid research fishing permit; or
(iii) the fishing falls under the list of permitted fishing with the use or aid of non-fishing vessels or local vessels.
Permitted fishing listed in Schedule 2 of Cap 171 includes:
(i) fishing by means of a line (without any branch line) operated by hand;
(ii) fishing with the use of a hand net;
(iii) fishing without the use of any fishing gear; and
(iv) fishing during diving supported by self-contained underwater breathing apparatus.
Any offender on conviction is liable to a maximum penalty of a fine of $100,000 and imprisonment for six months.
The spokesman said, "The responsible person, who may be the owner, the master, the coxswain or another person in charge of the vessel, must inform the crew members and users to comply with relevant sections of the Ordinance."
Cap 171 was enacted to pursue the sustainable development of the fishing industry through limiting the entry of new fishing vessels, restriction of fishing with the use or aid of non-fishing vessels and prohibition of fishing with the use or aid of non-local fishing vessels.
The AFCD will continue to enforce the relevant legislation to tackle illegal fishing activities.