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Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009

Section 220: Enforcement

573.This section amends Part 5 of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975.

574.Subsection (2) amends section 31. Section 31 gives water bailiffs (enforcement officers of the Environment Agency) powers of search and seizure where instruments or baits have been used in contravention of the Act. Subsection (2)(a) and (b) removes references to the Act so as to allow water bailiffs to check, amongst other things, partially submerged fishing gear to ensure hooks or bait prohibited under byelaws are not being used.

575.Subsection (2)(c) provides that a water bailiff’s power of seizure includes a sample of any fish.

576.Subsection 2(d) allows water bailiffs to disable or destroy dams, fishing weirs, fishing mill dams or fixed engines suspected of having been operated or used, or likely to be used in contravention of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975. This replaces, with some changes, the powers that were previously in sections 6, 7, and 8 of the 1975 Act but are deleted by other provisions in this Act.

577.Subsection (3) amends section 32. Section 32 gives water bailiffs the power to enter, remain upon and traverse any lands adjoining or near to any waters, subject to exceptions. The amendment removes the exception for decoys or lands used exclusively for the preservation of wild fowl which will allow, for example, water bailiffs to take action on such land against poaching.

578.Subsection (4) amends section 33. Section 33 enables a justice of the peace to issue a warrant authorising a water bailiff to enter land for the purpose of seizing illegal nets and other such instruments as well as salmon, trout, freshwater fish or eels that might have been illegally taken. Subsection (4)(a) extends the power of seizure to legal instruments suspected to have been used illegally and subsection (4)(b) extends the power to any fish illegally taken or sold. Subsection (4)(c) extends the purpose for which a power of entry may be authorised to the destruction or disablement of any fixed engine, dam, fishing weir or fishing mill dam found on the premises and suspected of having been used illegally.

579.Subsection (5) increases the period during which a warrant remains in force from one week to three months.

580.Subsection (6) amends section 34. Section 34 enables water bailiffs to seize without warrant any person who has illegally taken or killed fish, or is found on or near any waters with the intent so to do, or with any prohibited instrument but only during the period between sunset and sunrise. Subsection (6) removes this restriction.

581.Subsections (7) and (8) amend section 35. Section 35 empowers water bailiffs and other enforcement officers to demand a person fishing, suspected of being about to fish, or having fished in the preceding half hour, to produce his fishing licence or other authority to fish.

582.Subsections (7)(a) and (7)(b) replace the reference to having fished within “the preceding half hour” with having fished “recently” and allow water bailiffs to demand the production of a fishing licence from those suspected of intending to fish or those who have recently fished.

583.Subsection (7)(c) limits water bailiffs’ and other enforcement officers’ powers to require the production of a licence or authorisation issued under the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975 or a licence issued under section 16 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, under which certain species of fish are protected.

584.Subsection (8) omits section 35(2). This allowed any person, on the production of their own fishing licence, to demand another person produce their fishing licence and to state their name and address.

585.Subsection (9) increases the fine for using any explosive substance, any poison or other noxious substance, or any electrical device with the intent to take or destroy fish in contravention of section 5 of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975 from the prescribed sum (currently £5,000) to £50,000.

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