Section 24 – Freshwater fish conservation regulations
64.Section 24 inserts new section 51A into the 2003 Act, which enables the Scottish Ministers to make regulations for the conservation of freshwater fish. The power conferred upon the Scottish Ministers by new section 51A is similar to that which they already have, by virtue of section 38 of the 2003 Act, to make regulations for the conservation of salmon. Before making any regulations under the section, the Scottish Ministers must have regard to any representations made to them by any person having an interest in fishing for or taking freshwater fish, or in the environment (subsection (3)). Subsection (7) provides for regulations to confer enforcement powers upon constables and water bailiffs, and to make different provision in relation to different stretches of water, different seasons and different cases. Subsection (8) provides that contravention of regulations under inserted section 51A, or failure to comply with a requirement imposed by such regulations, is an offence punishable on summary conviction by a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale (presently £2,500), and subsection (9) provides that a person may be convicted of such an offence on the evidence of one witness. Subsection (10) provides that the procedure set out in paragraphs 9A and 11 to 15 of Schedule 1 to the 2003 Act – which require publicity to be given to any proposal for regulations, and opportunity to be given for representations and the holding of inquiries – shall apply to the making of regulations under section 51A. (Paragraph 9A of Schedule 1 to the 2003 Act is inserted by paragraph 6(5)(b) of the Schedule to the Act).