Meaning of “chargeable person” and “unauthorised catch of sea fish”

Fisheries Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:30 pm on 17th December 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Peter Aldous Peter Aldous Conservative, Waveney 4:30 pm, 17th December 2018

I beg to move amendment 94, in clause 24, page 14, line 17, after “Organisation” insert

“or an Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority”.

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Labour, Delyn

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Amendment 95, in clause 24, page 14, line 23, after “Organisation” insert

“or an Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority”.

Amendment 96, in clause 24, page 14, line 26, after “Organisation” insert

“or an Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority”.

Amendment 99, in clause 29, page 17, line 37, after “MMO” insert

“or on the Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities”.

Amendment 100, in clause 29, page 17, line 38, after “MMO” insert

“or on the Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities.”.

Amendment 101, in clause 29, page 17, line 39, after “power of” insert “either”.

Amendment 102, in clause 29, page 17, line 39, after “MMO” insert

“or the Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities”.

Photo of Peter Aldous Peter Aldous Conservative, Waveney

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Hanson. The amendments are more of the probing variety and are not quite as intimidating and long as they might appear. They relate to clauses 24 and 29, which concern the charging arrangements for the administration of the disposal of English fishing opportunities.

I seek to address three issues through this group of amendments. First, I would add to the marine functions for which charges can be made. Secondly, I would expand the provisions to allow inshore fisheries and conservation authorities, not only marine management organisations, to recoup costs. Thirdly, while the level of charges is not likely to be great, I think it would be appropriate, wherever possible, to direct these funds to preserving English fisheries for future generations.

This particular group of amendments would allow IFCAs, not only the MMO, to recoup costs. I would welcome clarification from the Minister on whether it is appropriate to add IFCAs to the clause. If he does not think that it is, I seek his assurance as to why.

Photo of Luke Pollard Luke Pollard Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Fisheries, Flooding and Water)

I will be brief. The hon. Member for Waveney raises some good points. I asked for further clarity on the role of IFCAs previously, because it seems to be an area that is missing from large parts of the Bill. I would be grateful if the Minister responds to that.

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

To reassure my hon. Friend the Member for Waveney, we have not included IFCAs in the clause in the way that his amendments suggest, in common with similar amendments that he has tabled, because IFCAs do not have any role in quota management. It is not appropriate for them to be covered by this clause, which is explicitly in relation to the discard prevention charge.

IFCAs do not carry out the functions for which we want the MMO to charge. In essence, the funding mechanisms for IFCAs are also different from the MMO. IFCAs are funded by a levy charged to their sponsoring local authorities. They receive around £8.7 million for that. Local authorities have a legal duty to pay the levy. Recovered courts costs awarded from successful prosecutions also appear as revenues. IFCAs are encouraged to explore ways of supplementing their income by creating commercial revenues—through survey work, for example. Their funding model is very different. They have no role in quota management and it is not appropriate to bring them within the scope of these clauses.

IFCAs are already able to charge for permits under their bylaw-making powers in the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. That means that where, for instance, they issue a permit to allow people to catch cockles, they are able to charge to cover the cost of issuing that permit. There are other provisions in other pieces of legislation that give them some charging powers that are appropriate, but it would not be appropriate to give them a role in an area that is entirely managed by the MMO.

Photo of Peter Aldous Peter Aldous Conservative, Waveney 4:45 pm, 17th December 2018

I am grateful for the Minister’s clarification of that issue, particularly that IFCAs do not have a role in quota management and that they have alternative funding arrangements. On that basis, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The purpose of the clause is simply to provide the meaning of “chargeable person” and “unauthorised catch at sea fish” in respect of the discard prevention charging scheme. Subsection (1) provides that the chargeable persons under a scheme must be holders of English sea fishing licences or producer organisations that have at least one member that is an English sea fishing licence holder. Producer organisations are included as chargeable persons as they frequently manage quota on behalf of their members and distribute quota between the members. Subsection (2) gives the meaning of unauthorised catch of sea fish; unauthorised catch means catch in excess of the amount authorised by the MMO for that vessel or producer. Subsection (3) provides flexibility so that a scheme may determine what catch is to be deemed as authorised by the MMO.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 24 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 25