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Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009

Section 217: Licences to fish

558.This section amends section 25 of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975, which requires the Environment Agency to regulate fishing for salmon, trout, eels and freshwater fish by means of a system of licensing.

559.Subsection (1) inserts new section 25(1) which amends the scope of the licensing system by extending the list of kinds of fish to which the licensing system applies to include lampreys, smelt and any fish specified in an order made under new section 40A of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975. New section 25(1) also restricts the licensing system to licensable means of fishing. Licensable means of fishing are the instruments set out in new section 25(1A). These are rod and line, historic installations (certain fixed nets and traps which were certified under old legislation, or were in use by virtue of a grant or charter or immemorial usage in 1861) and such other means of fishing as the appropriate national authority may specify by order.

560.A person who fishes otherwise than by a licensable means of fishing is required to have an authorisation under new section 27A of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975, inserted by section 219.

561.Subsection (2) provides that the Environment Agency, which already has the power to introduce licences for different areas, may introduce licences in relation to different descriptions of waters. For example, this power might be used to introduce different licences for canals as opposed to rivers.

562.Subsection (3) amends section 25(4) by removing a person’s entitlement to use a gaff or tailer when fishing with rod and line. This flows from the addition of tailers to the list of prohibited instruments in section 1.

563.Subsection (4) omits previous provisions which, first, deemed a licence for fishing for salmon also to allow fishing for trout, and, second, deemed a licence for fishing for salmon or trout to allow fishing also for freshwater fish and eels.

564.Subsection (5) inserts new section 25(10) and (11), which allows the Environment Agency to permit people to fish by licensable means of fishing without a licence. For example, the Agency may allow those who need to remove excess fish from a particular water for management reasons, to do so without a licence.

565.Subsection (6) amends paragraph 11, and omits paragraph 12, of Schedule 2 to the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975. This removes the requirement to pay 20p for each name removed from, inserted into or substituted in a fishing licence.

566.Subsection (7) empowers the Environment Agency to impose conditions (by way of notice) on a licence to use historic installations. Conditions might include a limit on the number of fish which may be taken, specifying the times at which they may be taken or the gear which may be used. A breach of such a licence condition is an offence under section 27 of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975.

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