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Fisheries Act (Northern Ireland) 1966

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Fisheries Act (Northern Ireland) 1966 is up to date with all changes known to be in force on or before 04 August 2020. There are changes that may be brought into force at a future date. Help about Changes to Legislation


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  1. Introductory Text


    1. Preliminary

      1. 1.Responsibility of the Ministry for fisheries in Northern Ireland.

    2. Development and improvement of facilities for angling

      1. 1A.Promotion of angling.

      2. 2.Acquisition and development of waters for angling.

      3. 3.Development of derelict waters for angling.

      4. 3A.Schemes for development of derelict waters.

      5. 4.Provisions supplemental to sections 3 and 3A.

      6. 5.Payment of grants and execution of works for the development, etc., of waters for angling.

      7. 6.Programme for the development, etc., of waters for angling.

      8. 7.Compilation and publication of angling guide.

    3. Permits to fish in Department's waters

      1. 7A.Permits.

    4. Other provisions for the improvement and protection of fisheries

      1. 8.General power for stocking of waters.

      2. 9.Power of Ministry to improve fisheries at expense of other persons.

      3. 10.Power of Ministry to establish a fish farm.

      4. 11.Fish culture licences.

      5. 11A.Applications for fish culture licences.

      6. 11B.Discharge of effluent.

      7. 11C.Amendment, suspension and revocation of fish culture licences.

      8. 12.Power of Ministry to conduct or assist research.

      9. 13.Prohibition of introduction of fish of certain kinds.

      10. 14.Exemptions for artificial propagation and scientific purposes.

      11. 15.Regulations with respect to eel fishing.

    5. Protection of quality of fish

      1. 15A.Regulations for protection of quality of fish.

    6. Definitions of mouths of rivers, etc.

      1. 16.Definitions of mouths of rivers, etc.

    7. Records and returns

      1. 17.Records and returns by holders of fishing licences and dealers' licences and persons engaged in the sea-fish industry.

      2. 18.Disclosure of returns and information.

    8. Regulations

      1. 19.Regulations.

    9. Inquiries

      1. 20.Power of Ministry to hold inquiries and investigations.

      2. 21.Notice of meetings and inquiries.

    10. Report

      1. 22.Annual report by the Ministry.

    11. Financial provisions

      1. 23.Expenses.

      2. 24.Appropriations in aid.


    1. Functions of the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure

      1. 25.Functions of the Department

      2. 26. Regulations

    2. Financial provisions affecting the Board

      1. 27.Borrowing powers.

      2. 28.Duty of Board to make to Ministry a yearly return of estimated receipts and payments.

      3. 29.Power of Ministry to make advances to the Board.

      4. 30.Accounts and Audit

    3. Returns and information

      1. 32.Annual reports of the Board.

      2. 33.Duty of Board to disclose information to Ministry.

      3. Ss. 34, 35 rep. by 1983 NI 21

      4. S.36 rep. by 1968 c.31 (NI); SLR 1976


    1. 37.Power to make regulations respecting fishing licences.

    2. 38.Arrangements for the issue of certain licences.

    3. 39.Angling licences to be non-transferable.

    4. 40.Effect of fishing licences.

    5. 41.Prohibition of unlicensed fishing.

    6. 42.Charging of certain offences under s.41.

    7. 43.Defences to charges under section 41.

    8. 44.Complimentary licences.

    9. 45.Falsification, etc., of licences.


    1. Protection of fishing waters from poisoning, etc., and pollution

      1. 46.Penalty for use or possession of deleterious matter.

      2. 47.Penalty for pollution.

    2. Protection of young and breeding fish

      1. 48.Taking, etc., spawn or fry of salmon, trout or eels.

      2. 49.Chasing, etc., spawning fish.

      3. 50.Penalties for taking, etc., unseasonable salmon or trout.

      4. 51.Prohibition against sale, etc., of immature salmon or trout.

      5. 52.Taking undersized pollen.

    3. Obstructions to passage of fish

      1. 53.Removal of natural obstructions in rivers to allow free passage of fish.

      2. S.53A rep. by 1973 NI 1

      3. 54.Construction of fish passes in dams in rivers.

      4. 55.Offence of taking fish in a fish pass, using fishing engines in a fish pass or placing obstacles in a fish pass.

      5. 56.Restrictions on the use of fishing engines and rods and lines at or in the vicinity of dams.

      6. 57.Penalty for taking fish in works or watercourses appurtenant to mills.

      7. 58.Provisions in relation to sluices, etc., of mills deriving water from rivers.

    4. Abstraction of water from rivers and lakes

      1. 59.Gratings to be set in watercourses diverted from rivers or lakes to prevent entry therein of fish.

      2. S.60 rep. by 1973 NI 2

    5. Interpretation

      1. 61.Interpretation of Part IV.


    1. Prohibition of certain methods of fishing

      1. 62.Penalty for using certain devices for taking fish.

      2. 63.Fishing for salmon or trout by cross lines.

      3. 64.Penalty for taking salmon or trout in eel weir.

      4. 65.Penalty for damming or teeming river or millrace for purpose of taking salmon or trout.

    2. [Regulations as to nets, etc.]

      1. 66.Restrictions on use of nets.

      2. 67.Mesh of nets made of non-rigid material for the taking of salmon in the sea or tideways.

      3. 68.Meshes or openings of engines made of rigid material for the taking of salmon in the sea or tideways.

      4. 69.Use of salmon nets near mouths of rivers.

      5. 70.Powers of Board with respect to drift nets for the taking of salmon in the sea.

      6. 71.Restriction on use of nets in fresh water.

      7. 72.Mesh of nets for taking fish in fresh water.

    3. Prohibition of fishing weirs and fixed engines, with certain exceptions

      1. 73.Restriction with respect to fishing weirs or fixed engines in fresh water portion of rivers or lakes.

      2. 74.Restriction on use of fixed engines for the capture of salmon in the sea or tideways.

      3. 75.Effect of certificate under section 6 of the Salmon Fishery (Ireland) Act 1863.

      4. 76.Power of Ministry to authorise the alteration of sites of fixed engines.

      5. 77.Power of Ministry to authorise variation in characteristics of fixed engines.

    4. Regulations as to fixed engines

      1. 78.Prohibition of erecting or using fixed engines at mouths of rivers.

      2. 79.Prohibition of bag nets in certain places.

      3. 80.Regulations as to construction and user of bag nets.

    5. Regulations as to fishing weirs

      1. 81.Free gaps in fishing weirs.

      2. 82.Offence of affecting flow of water through free gap by alteration of bed of river.

      3. 83.Fishing in or near or obstructing free gaps.

      4. 84.Operation of eel weir without free gap.

      5. 85.Rules as to boxes in salmon weirs.

      6. 86.Construction of guiding walls appurtenant to salmon weirs.

    6. Other provisions

      1. 87.Restriction on possession of unlawful fishing engines, etc.

      2. 88.Taking salmon or trout unlawfully killed or found dead.


    1. Annual close season for salmon and trout caught otherwise than by rod and line

      1. 89.Annual close season for salmon and trout.

      2. 90.Penalties for fishing otherwise than by rod and line for salmon or trout during the annual close season for salmon and trout.

      3. 91.Provisions to be observed in relation to fixed engines during the annual close season for salmon and trout

      4. 92.Dismantlement of salmon weirs during the annual close season for salmon and trout.

      5. 93.Removal of nets from banks, etc., of waters during the annual close season for salmon and trout.

      6. 94.Use of nets in inland waters during the annual close season for salmon and trout.

    2. Annual close season for angling for salmon and annual close season for angling for trout

      1. 95.Annual close season for angling for salmon and annual close season for angling for trout.

      2. 96.Angling for salmon or for trout during annual close season for angling for salmon or annual close season for angling for trout.

    3. Weekly close time for salmon and trout caught otherwise than by rod and line

      1. 97.Weekly close time.

      2. 98.Penalty for fishing otherwise than by rod and line for salmon or trout during the weekly close time.

      3. 99.Provisions to be observed in relation to certain fixed engines during the weekly close time.

      4. 100.Provisions to be observed in relation to salmon weirs during the weekly close time.

      5. 101.Penalty for preventing fish from passing through boxes, etc., during the weekly close time.

      6. 102.Scaring or obstructing free passage of salmon or trout during the weekly close time.

      7. 103.Use of nets in inland waters during the weekly close time.

    4. Other restrictions as to times of fishing for salmon and trout

      1. 104.Restriction on use of salmon or trout nets during certain hours in freshwater portions of rivers.

    5. Pollen

      1. 105.Annual close season for pollen.

      2. 106.Extension of sections 90 and 98 to pollen.

    6. Eels

      1. 107.Annual close season for eels.

      2. 108.Prohibition of taking etc. eels, otherwise than by rod and line, during the annual close season.

      3. 109.Placing fishing engines for taking eels in eyes, etc., of fishing weirs during the annual close season for eels or during the daytime.


    1. 110.Prohibition of sale, etc., of salmon or trout unlawfully captured.

    2. [111.Prohibition of purchase, sale, etc., of salmon, trout, pollen and brown eels at certain times.

    3. 112.Restriction on purchase of salmon, trout and eels.

    4. Licences for the sale of salmon, trout and eels

      1. 113.Prohibition of sale, etc., of salmon, trout and eels without licence.

      2. 114.Grant of licence.

      3. 115.Renewal of licence.

      4. 116.Appeal from refusal of licence.

      5. 117.Separate licence required for each premises, etc.

      6. 118.Publication of licences.

      7. 119.Temporary continuance of licence on death.

      8. 120.Register to be kept by holder of licence.

      9. S.121 rep. by 1981 NI 7

    5. Other provisions

      1. 122.Marking of packages containing salmon, trout or eels.

      2. 123.Penalties for offences under Part VII.

      3. 123A.Power to apply this Part to other species of fish.


    1. Regulations

      1. [124.Sea-fishing regulations.

      2. S.125 rep. by 1981 NI 7

      3. [126.Landing etc., fish caught in contravention of regulations.

    2. Undersized sea-fish

      1. 127.Minimum sizes of sea-fish.

    3. Other provisions

      1. 128.Use of beaches, etc., by fishermen for purposes of sea-fishing.

      2. 129.Use by fishermen of land adjoining fishing places.

      3. S.130 rep. by 1981 NI 7


    1. 131.Power of Department to grant shell-fish fishery licence.

    2. 132.Application for shell-fish fishery licence.

    3. 133.Form, conditions, duration and variation of shell-fish fishery licence.

    4. 134.Publication of shell-fish fishery licence.

    5. 135.Effect of shell-fish fishery licence.

    6. 136.Offences with respect to licensed shell-fish fishery.

    7. 137.Suspension or revocation of shell-fish fishery licence.

    8. Ss. 138‐159. The substituted Part IX comprises sections 131‐137 only...


    1. 137A.Marine fish fishery licences.


    1. 160.Obstructing persons lawfully fishing.

    2. 161.Placing fishing engine with intent to prevent fish entering any other fishing engine lawfully set.

    3. 162.Taking or using boats without permission.

    4. 163.Names of owners to be painted on fishing boats.

    5. 164.Unauthorised entry on several fishery.

    6. 165.Unauthorised fishing in private ponds.


    1. Definitions

      1. 166.Definitions for purposes of Part XI.

    2. Provisions with respect to particular classes of authorised persons

      1. 167.Amendment of 1836 c.13 s.15, as to purposes for which members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary may be employed.

      2. 168.Restriction on powers of officers of the Department .

      3. S.169 rep. by 1981 NI 7

      4. 170.Appointment, etc., of private water bailiffs.

      5. 170A.Duration of appointments of private water bailiffs.

      6. 171.Warrant for exercise of powers.

    3. Powers

      1. 172.General powers of authorised persons.

      2. 173.Power of justice of the peace to grant warrant to enter certain places.

      3. 174.Boarding and examination of fishing boats.

      4. 175.Detention of sea-fishing boats, etc.

      5. 176.Apprehension of offenders.

      6. 177.Powers in relation to fishing engines, etc.

      7. 178.Powers of inspection, examination and detention.

      8. 179.Persons using, etc., fishing engines to produce fishing licence therefor on demand.

      9. 179A.Production of permits issued under section 7A.

      10. 180.Procedure for disposal of boat or fishing engine seized in certain cases.

      11. 181.Procedure for disposal of fish seized or detained.

    4. Protection of authorised persons

      1. 182.Penalty for assaulting authorised person.

      2. 183.Obstructing or impeding authorised person.

      3. 184.Giving warning to persons unlawfully fishing.

      4. 185.Indemnification of authorised persons.


    1. General considerations

      1. 185A.Preservation of amenity.

    2. Jurisdiction of Water Appeals Commission for Northern Ireland under this Act

      1. 185B.Jurisdiction of Appeals Commission.

    3. Legal Proceedings

      1. 186.Complaints.

      2. S.187 rep. by 1981 NI 7

      3. 188.Jurisdiction in offences committed at sea.

      4. 189.Service of documents.

      5. Ss.190, 191 rep. by 1981 NI 7

      6. 192.Additional defence for persons charged with buying, etc., undersized fish.

      7. 193.Detention of offender pending return of warrant of distress.

      8. S.194 rep. by 1981 NI 7

    4. Forfeitures

      1. 195.Forfeiture of boat, fishing engine, etc., as statutory consequence of conviction.

      2. 196.Non-obligation of court to pronounce or record forfeiture.

      3. [197.Power of court to order forfeiture of vehicle.

      4. 198.Disposal of forfeitures.

      5. 199.Appeal from refusal of Ministry to annul forfeiture in certain cases.

      6. 200.Forfeiture of licences.

    5. Penalties

      1. 201.Penalties for offences.

      2. 202.Continuing offences.

      3. 203.Disposal of fines.

    6. Evidence

      1. 204.Proof of documents.

      2. 205.Recovery and evidence of expenses.

    7. Interpretation

      1. 206.Interpretation.

      2. 207.Extension to hand lines of provisions relating to angling.

    8. Saving

      1. 208.Saving for right of owner to take materials from streams

    9. Transitional

      1. 209.Transitional provisions.

    10. General

      1. S.210, with Schedule 7, effects amendments.

      2. S.211, with Schedule 8, effects repeals

      3. 212.Application to the Londonderry Area.

      4. 213.Commencement.

      5. 214.Short title.


    1. SCHEDULE 1


      1. 1.Where the Ministry has reason to suspect that the holder...

      2. 2.When a licence is suspended under paragraph 1 the Ministry...

      3. 3.The Ministry may revoke a licence where the Ministry is...

      4. 4.Where the Ministry proposes to revoke a licence, other than...

      5. 5.Where the Ministry revokes a licence the Ministry shall send...

      6. 6.A person whose licence has been revoked under paragraph 3...

      7. 7.The county court, in deciding an appeal brought under paragraph...

      8. 8.When a licence is suspended or revoked, the person who...

      9. [9.In this Schedule “contravention” , in relation to a condition...

    2. SCHEDULE 2


      1. Incorporation and constitution

        1. Incorporation and constitution

          1. 1.The Board shall be a body corporate to which, subject...

          2. 2.(1) The Board shall consist of not more than 24...

          3. 3.(1) Subject to the following provisions of this paragraph—

          4. 4.The quorum of the Board and the procedure at meetings...

          5. 5.The Board may act notwithstanding any vacancy among their members....

          6. 6.No defect in the appointment of any person acting as...

        2. Executive committee of the Board

          1. 7.(1) The Board shall establish an executive committee consisting of...

        3. Remuneration

          1. 8.(1) There shall be paid to the chairman and the...

        4. Power to amend certain provisions of this Schedule

          1. 9.The Department may by order made subject to affirmative resolution—...

        5. Officers and servants

          1. 10.(1) The Board— (a) shall, with the approval of the...

          2. 11.The Board shall, in accordance with any reasonable requirements communicated...

        6. Superannuation

          1. 12.(1) The Board, with the approval of the Department and...

        7. The seal

          1. 13.The application of the seal of the Board shall be...

        8. Execution of contracts and instruments not under seal

          1. 14.Any contract or instrument which, if entered into or executed...

    3. SCHEDULE 5


      1. I, A.B. ( or we, A.B. and C.D., as the...

      2. ( name the place or places of residence).

      3. do hereby appoint E.F., of

      4. ( name the place of his residence),

      5. a private water bailiff to protect the fishery of

      6. ( name the fishery, lake, river, [ sea coast or...

      7. ( name the place of his residence),

      8. is hereby authorised to do all lawful acts as such...

    4. SCHEDULE 5A


      1. 1.Where any person (in this Schedule referred to as "the...

      2. 2.Where the Department . . . objects to the renewal...

      3. 3.Where, within the time specified in paragraph 2, the clerk...

      4. 4.(1) Where the Department . . . notifies . ....

      5. 5.In this Schedule— “the applicant” has the meaning given in...

    5. SCHEDULE 6


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