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Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Act 2013

Section 29 - Monitoring and evaluation of the effects of orders, etc.

86.Section 29 amends sections 33, 37 and 38 of the 2003 Act to enable the Scottish Ministers to impose requirements to monitor and evaluate the effect of orders and regulations under those sections. The provisions give Ministers powers to ensure that, where measures are granted, appropriate monitoring and evaluation of the effects of such measures on salmon stocks can take place in a consistent manner across Scotland.

87.Section 29(2) amends section 33 of the 2003 Act, which enables the Scottish Ministers to make regulations (“baits and lures regulations”) prohibiting the use of specified baits and lures upon application by one or more DSFBs. New subsection (6A) enables Ministers, in granting an application for baits and lures regulations, to impose requirements on DSFBs to carry out monitoring and evaluation of the effect of the regulations on salmon stocks. For example, where regulations under section 33 of the 2003 Act prohibit fishing with barbed hooks, a DSFB may be required to monitor and record any incidents of fish mortality resulting from fish that were not effectively released after capture. Subsection (6B) makes it an offence for a DSFB to act in contravention of any requirements imposed under baits and lures regulations or to fail to take any action required of the DSFB under such regulations. Subsection (6C) provides that a DSFB charged with an offence under section 33(6B) is liable on summary conviction to a fine of up to Level 4 on the standard scale. Section 143 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 makes provision for the summary prosecution of organisations such as DSFBs.

88.Section 29(3) amends section 37 of the 2003 Act which provides for the annual close time for salmon fishery districts in Scotland. Section 29(3)(a) of the Act makes a technical amendment to section 37(2) of the 2003 Act to include a reference to section 38(5)(c) of the 2003 Act (which is inserted by section 29(4)(b) of the Act). This provision enables Ministers to specify in salmon conservation regulations both the annual close time for salmon for a salmon fishery district and a period during that close time in which it is permitted to fish for salmon by rod and line. As a result of these new powers, the qualification to the annual close times specified in section 37(2) of the 2003 Act is amended to include a reference to any period in which it is permitted to fish for salmon by rod and line specified in regulations made by Ministers in reliance of the new powers in section 38(5)(c) of the 2003 Act. A technical amendment is also made to section 37(3) of the 2003 Act in this respect by section 29(3)(b) of the Act.

89.Subsection 29(3)(c) amends section 37 of the 2003 Act to introduce new subsections (3A), (3B) and (3C). Subsection (3A) enables Ministers, in granting an application for a close time order, to impose requirements on DSFBs or proprietors to carry out monitoring and evaluation of the effect of the order on salmon stocks. For example, a DSFB or proprietors may be required to monitor the impact of a season extension (i.e. a period during the annual close time when it is permitted to fish for or to take salmon by rod and line). The programme of monitoring could include: scale sampling; redd counts; and rod catch analysis. Subsection (3B) makes it an offence for a DSFB or a proprietor to act in contravention of any requirements relating to monitoring and evaluation imposed under a close time order, or to fail to take any action required of the DSFB or proprietor by such requirements. Subsection (3C) provides that a DSFB or proprietor charged with an offence under section 37(3B) is liable on summary conviction to a fine of up to level 3 on the standard scale (currently £1,000).

90.Section 29(4) amends section 38 of the 2003 Act, which enables the Scottish Ministers to make salmon conservation regulations. Section 29(4)(b) introduces a new subsection (5)(c) into section 38 which gives Ministers powers to prescribe for any salmon fishery district the dates of the annual close time for salmon and the period(s) during which it is permitted to fish for or take salmon by rod and line during the annual close time. This is in line with the powers in section 37 of the 2003 Act and gives Scottish Ministers greater flexibility as regards potential options to best manage salmon stocks. Section 29(4)(c) introduces a new subsection (6)(ba) into section 38 which enables Ministers, in granting an application for salmon conservation regulations, to impose on a DSFB or proprietors requirements on monitoring and evaluating the effect of the regulations on salmon stocks as Ministers consider necessary or expedient. For example, Ministers may impose a requirement for a DSFB to assess the effect of catch and release measures on reported rod catches during the period any restrictions apply.

91.Section 38(7) of the 2003 Act makes it an offence, publishable on summary conviction by a fine of up to Level 4 on the standard scale, for a DSFB or a proprietor to act in contravention of salmon conservation regulations or to fail to take any action required of them under, or to fail to comply with any requirement of, such regulations. Section 38(8) provides that a DSFB or proprietor charged with an offence under section 38(7) may be convicted on the evidence of one witness.

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