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Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009

Section 198: Power to restrict fishing for sea fish

506.Section 5 of the Sea Fish (Conservation) Act 1967 enables the Ministers (now the Secretary of State and the devolved administrations) to make an order restricting fishing for sea fish of any description and by any method specified for any period and creates an offence where any fishing boat is used in contravention of such an order. The order may apply to any fishing boat within relevant British fishery limits. Outside those limits, the order may apply only to a relevant British fishing boat registered in the UK, or where an order relates to fishing for salmon or migratory trout, to any fishing boat which is British-owned but not registered under the Merchant Shipping Act 1995. Any fish caught in contravention of a restriction of an order made under this section must be returned immediately to the sea.

507.Orders made under section 5 apply only to fishing boats and not to persons fishing from the shore. That section is amended so that orders may be made in relation to such persons. Offences are also created in respect of persons fishing in contravention of an order.

508.The amendments also provide for restrictions to be made in an order to place limits on how much fish a person or a fishing boat may take in any given period. Any fish caught in excess of this limit must be returned to the sea. The order may provide that any sea fish caught during the relevant period but returned to the sea as soon as the limit is exceeded do not count towards the limit imposed by the order in question. In addition, the amendments provide that an order which prohibits fishing for sea fish, or fishing for sea fish by any specified method, may require the stowage of fishing gear.

509.The powers to make orders using the new provisions would be exercisable by the Secretary of State as regards England and the Welsh Ministers as regards Wales. Since this section does not extend to Northern Ireland, amendments have been made to remove Northern Ireland fishing boats from the coverage of certain of the measures.

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