New Clause 8 - Agency arrangements between sea fish licensing authorities

Part of Fisheries Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 6:19 pm on 13th October 2020.

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Photo of Rosie Winterton Rosie Winterton Deputy Speaker (First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means) 6:19 pm, 13th October 2020

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Government new clauses 9 and 10.

New clause 1—Sea Fish Industry Authority: powers in relation to parts of UK

‘(1) The Fisheries Act 1981 is amended as follows.

(2) In section 2(1) (duties of the Authority)—

(a) after the third “of”, insert “(amongst other things)”,

(b) delete the words “as a whole”.

(3) After section 3 (powers of the Authority), insert—

“3A Exercise of functions in relation to different parts of the UK etc.

The Authority may exercise its functions separately and differently in relation to—

(a) the sea fish industry in different parts of the United Kingdom,

(b) sea fish and sea fish products landed in different parts of the United Kingdom,

(c) sea fish and sea fish products trans-shipped in different parts of the sea within British fishery limits adjacent to different parts of the United Kingdom.”.’

The primary purpose of this new clause is to give the Sea Fish Industry Authority greater flexibility to exercise its functions separately and differently in different parts of the UK. It inserts a new clause into subsection 3, which will enable the Authority to do this.

New clause 2—Sea Fish Industry Authority: delegation of functions—

‘(1) The Fisheries Act 1981 is amended as follows.

(2) After section 3A (exercise of functions in relation to different parts of the UK etc.), insert—

“3B Delegation of functions

(1) The Authority may authorise any other person to exercise on its behalf such of its functions and to such extent as it may determine.

(2) The Authority may give to any person authorised under this section to exercise any of its functions—

(a) financial assistance (by way of loan, grant or guarantee),

(b) other assistance including assistance by way of the provision of property, staff or services, for the purposes of those functions.”

(3) The giving of authority under this section to exercise a function does not—

(a) affect the Authority’s responsibility for the exercise of the function, or

(b) prevent the Authority from exercising the function itself.”.’

This new clause inserts a new clause which will allow the Authority to authorise any other person to exercise on its behalf any of its functions to the extent determined by the Authority. It will also allow the Authority to give any such person financial and other assistance to do so.

New clause 3—Sea Fish Industry Authority: accounts and reports—

‘(1) The Fisheries Act 1981 is amended as follows.

(2) In section 11 (accounts and reports)—

(a) after subsection (2) insert—

“(2A) The statement of accounts must specify the total amount of income received in the financial year from levies imposed under section 4 in relation to sea fish or sea fish products landed in Scotland or trans-shipped within the Scottish zone.”,

(b) after subsection (7) insert—

“(7A) The report must include details of how income received from levies imposed under section 4 has been applied in the financial year in respect of each part of the United Kingdom by the Authority in exercising its functions including in particular details, in respect of each part of the United Kingdom, of how the income has been applied by the Authority in—

(a) promoting the efficiency of the sea fish industry in that part,

(b) promoting the marketing and consumption of, and the export of, sea fish and sea fish products relating to that part.”.’

This new clause is intended to ensure that the Authority reports how income received from the levies it imposes has been applied in respect of each part of the United Kingdom.

New clause 4—Sea Fish Industry Authority: plan relating to allocation of Scottish levies—

‘(1) The Fisheries Act 1981 is amended as follows.

(2) After section 11 (accounts and reports), insert—

“11A Plan relating to allocation of Scottish levies

(1) Before the start of each financial year, the Authority must—

(a) prepare a plan setting out—

(i) an estimate of the total amount of income that the Authority expects to receive during the financial year from levies imposed under section 4 in relation to sea fish or sea fish products landed in Scotland or trans-shipped within the Scottish zone (“Scottish levies”), and

(ii) a description of how the Authority proposes to apply that income in the course of exercising its functions, and

(b) refer the plan to the committee appointed under paragraph 16(A1) of Schedule 1 (“the Scottish committee”) for approval of the Authority’s proposal mentioned in paragraph (a)(ii).

(2) If, as a result of relevant regulations, the Authority estimates that the total amount of income that it expects to receive from Scottish levies during a financial year is greater than the total amount of income that it received from Scottish levies during the previous financial year, the Authority’s plan prepared under subsection (1) for the financial year must include a statement describing how the Authority proposes in particular to apply the additional income from Scottish levies in the course of exercising its functions.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2)—

(a) “relevant regulations”, in relation to a financial year, means—

(i) regulations made by the Authority under section 4(2) during the previous financial year, and

(ii) regulations which the Authority expects to make, and to be confirmed by the Scottish Ministers, under section 4(2) during the financial year,

(b) the total amount of income received by the Authority from Scottish levies during a previous financial year is the total amount of such income as recorded in the Authority’s accounts kept under section 11(1) in respect of that year.

(4) The Authority—

(a) must publish a plan prepared under subsection (1) as soon as reasonably practicable after receiving the Scottish committee’s approval as mentioned in subsection (1)(b), and

(b) may publish the plan in such manner as it considers appropriate.

(5) The Authority must, as soon as reasonably practicable after publishing a plan under subsection (4)—

(a) send a copy of the plan to the Scottish Ministers, and

(b) lay the plan before the Scottish Parliament.

(6) The Authority must have regard to each relevant plan—

(a) in the exercise of its functions, and

(b) in particular, in authorising any other person under section 3B to exercise any of its functions on its behalf.

(7) A person who is authorised by the Authority under section 3B to exercise any of the Authority’s functions must have regard to each relevant plan in the exercise of those functions.

(8) In subsections (6) and (7), “relevant plan”, in relation to the exercise of a function, means—

(a) the latest plan published under subsection (4), and

(b) any earlier plan published under that subsection in so far as it contains a proposal mentioned in subsection (1)(a)(ii) (or, as the case may be, in subsection (2)) to apply income during the financial year in which the function is being exercised.”.’

The primary purpose of this new clause is to ensure the Authority sets out an annual plan that outlines how it intends to apply the levy income it expects to receive. This plan must make comparison to the levy income of the previous year and where the levy income is expected to be higher detail how the Authority proposes to apply the additional income from Scottish levies.

New clause 5—Sea Fish Industry Authority: committee for Scotland—

‘(1) The Fisheries Act 1981 is amended as follows.

(2) In schedule 1 (the Sea Fish Industry Authority), in paragraph 16—

(a) before sub-paragraph (1) insert—

“(A1) The Authority must appoint a committee for the purpose of assisting the Authority in the exercise of its functions in relation to the sea fish industry in Scotland.

(A2) The committee is to consist of or include persons who are not members of the Authority.

(A3) The Authority must consult the committee on the exercise of its functions in relation to the sea fish industry in Scotland.”,

(b) in sub-paragraph (1), before “committees” insert “other”,

(c) in sub-paragraph (2), for “such committees” substitute “committees appointed under this paragraph”.’

This new clause’s new provisions require the Authority to appoint a committee for the purpose of assisting the Authority in the exercise of its functions in relation to the sea fish industry in Scotland. They additionally require the consultation of this committee on the exercise of the Authority’s functions in relations to Scotland.

New clause 6—Sea Fish Industry Levies: powers in relation to Scotland and the Scottish Zone—

‘(1) The Fisheries Act 1981 is amended as follows.

(2) In section 4 (levies)—

(a) in subsection (2), for “Ministers” substitute “appropriate Ministerial authority”,

(b) in subsection (7), for “Ministers” substitute “appropriate Ministerial authority”,

(c) after subsection (8) insert—

“(8A) In this section, ‘appropriate Ministerial authority’ means—

(a) in relation to sea fish or sea fish products landed in Scotland or trans-shipped within the Scottish zone, the Scottish Ministers,

(b) in any other case, the Ministers.”,

(d) in subsection (9), after “order” in both places where it occurs insert “of the Ministers”,

(e) after subsection (9) insert—

“(9A) Any order of the Scottish Ministers—

(a) under subsection (2) is subject to the negative procedure,

(b) under subsection (7) is subject to the affirmative procedure.

(9B) Before laying a draft Scottish statutory instrument containing an order under subsection (7) before the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Ministers must consult—

(a) the committee appointed under paragraph 16(A1) of Schedule 1, and

(b) such other persons as they consider appropriate.”.

(3) In section 14 (interpretation of Part 1), in the definition of “the Ministers”, in paragraph (c), after “with” insert “(except in the case of an order under section 4(2) or (7))”.

(4) In schedule 2 (Sea Fish Industry Levies)—

(a) for “Ministers” in each place where it occurs substitute “appropriate Ministerial authority”,

(b) after paragraph 3 insert—

“4 The Scottish Ministers must, before making an order confirming any regulations, consult—

(a) the committee appointed under paragraph 16(A1) of Schedule 1, and

(b) such other persons as they consider appropriate.

5 In this schedule, ‘appropriate Ministerial authority’ has the same meaning as in section 4 of this Act.”.’

The primary purpose of this new clause is to devolve, to the Scottish Ministers, the control of the Scottish aspects of levies imposed by the Authority. Currently, levies imposed by the Authority require confirmation by the relevant Ministers for England, Wales and Northern Ireland with the agreement of the Scottish Ministers. The new clause intends to ensure that levies imposed in relation to Scotland require confirmation by Scottish Ministers.

New clause 7—Sea Fish Industry Levies: definitions relating to Scotland and the Scottish Zone—

‘(1) The Fisheries Act 1981 is amended as follows.

(2) In section 14 (interpretation of Part 1), after the definition of “the Ministers” insert—

“‘Scotland’ and ‘the Scottish zone’ have the same meanings as in the Scotland Act 1998 (see section 126(1) and (2) of that Act);”.’

This new clause inserts a new clause which makes consequential new clause to section 14 (interpretation of Part 1) of the 1981 Act by inserting definitions of “Scotland” and “the Scottish zone”.

New clause 11—Safety Regulation Within the Exclusive Economic Zone

‘(1) The Secretary of State shall, after consultation, develop a regulatory regime for fisheries in the Exclusive Economic Zone with regard to—

(a) adherence to the Torremolinos International Convention for the Safety of Fishing Vessels 1993 and Cape Town Agreement of 2012

(b) regulation of safety of navigation by fishing vessels within the EEZ

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) the regulatory regime shall be agreed with devolved administrations, whose consent shall not be unreasonably withheld, and shall come into force no later than 31 December 2022.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (1)(b) “regulation of safety of navigation” shall include, but not be limited to, regulation of acts by a person in charge of a fishing boat which causes or attempts to cause a collision or risk of collision with another vessel within the EEZ

(4) For the purposes of subsection (3), a “person in charge of a fishing boat” shall include the master, the owner and the charterer (if any) of that vessel.

(5) A person guilty of an offence under regulations made under this section shall be liable on summary conviction to—

(a) imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years,

(b) a fine, or

(c) both.’

The purpose of this new clause is to give the Secretary of State power to make regulations governing the safety of fishing vessels working within the EEZ in accordance with existing treaty obligations.

New clause 12—Safety of Fishing Vessels in the Exclusive Economic Zone—

‘(1) A person in charge of a fishing boat commits an offence if that person uses the vessel to—

(a) harass or impede another vessel within the EEZ, or

(b) endanger the safety of another vessel and/or those crewing it within the EEZ.

(2) For the purposes of this section (1), a “person in charge of a fishing boat” shall include the master, the owner and the charterer (if any) of that vessel.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (1), the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) shall be responsible for—

(a) monitoring the conduct of vessels within the EEZ, and

(b) passing information to a prosecuting authority.

(4) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable on summary conviction to—

(c) imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years,

(d) a fine, or

(e) both.

(5) The court by or before which a person is convicted of an offence under this section may award compensation for loss of earnings or damage to property caused as a consequence of the offence.

(6) Where a fisheries protection officer, an official of the Maritime Coastguard Agency or a Police Constable has reasonable grounds to believe that an offence has been committed under this section, he shall have power to detain in port any vessel or equipment used in the commission of that offence.

(7) Any property detained under subsection (6) shall not be held for longer than seven days unless authority to extend that period is granted by

(f) a Sheriff in the Sheriff Court in Scotland; or

(g) a judge in the Crown Court in England, Wales or Northern Ireland.

(8) Any property held under subsections (6) or (7) shall be liable to forfeiture at the conclusion of any criminal proceedings brought under this section.’

The purpose of this new clause is to give the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) appropriate powers to enforce safety within the limits of the UK’s Exclusive Economic Zone. A person guilty of an offence shall be liable to criminal prosecution and civil proceedings for damage, loss of earnings and injury.

Amendment 2, in clause 1, page 1, line 12, leave out subsection (2) and insert—

‘(2) The “sustainability objective” is that—

(a) fish and aquaculture activities do not compromise environmental sustainability in either the short or the long term, and

(a) subject to subsection (a) fishing fleets must—

(i) be managed to achieve economic, social and employment benefits and contribute to the availability of food supplies, and

(ii) have fishing capacity that is economically viable and does not overexploit marine stocks.

(2A) The sustainability objective is the prime objective.’

This amendment makes the sustainability objective the prime fisheries objective and alters the definition of the “sustainability objective” to make other objectives subject to environmental sustainability in the short and long term.

Amendment 57, in clause 1, page 1, line 14, after “the” insert “short and”.

This amendment would change the ‘sustainability objective’ to require that fish and aquaculture activities are environmentally sustainable in both the short and long term.

Amendment 1, in clause 1, page 2, line 32, at end insert—

‘(b) seafood landings into United Kingdom ports are increased and maximised; and

(c) that an average of not less than 65% of seafood caught in English waters, across all relevant species, should be landed in English ports.’

This amendment would amend the “national benefit objective” to include a commitment to increase seafood landings into the United Kingdom and create a specific target for English ports.

Government amendments 4 to 11, 36 and 12 to 24.

Amendment 3, in schedule 3, page 53, line 24, at end insert—

‘Prohibition on fishing boats greater than 100 metres in length in English waters

1A (1) Any sea fishing licence issued by the sea fish licensing authority for England must include a condition prohibiting the use of a fishing boat greater than 100 metres in length in any of the protected areas specified in subsection (2).

(2) The protected areas to which the prohibition in subsection (1) applies are marine conservation zones and marine protected areas as defined in the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.

(3) The Secretary of State may by regulations add to the list of protected areas in subsection (2).’

This amendment would include in the sea fishing licence conditions a prohibition on using a fishing boat longer than 100 metres in protected areas in English waters.

Government amendments 25 to 35 and 37 to 56.