Joint Committee On Human Rights Seventeenth Report

6 Fishery Limits (United Kingdom) Amendment Bill

Date introduced to the House of Commons

Date introduced to the House of Lords

Current Bill Number

Previous Reports

4 June 2003

House of Commons 117


6.1  This Bill would amend the Fishery Limits Act 1976:

—  to make it a criminal offence for any foreign fishing vessel to enter British waters within the limits unless the vessel is from an EU country which offers reciprocal facilities to British vessels and maintains appropriate conservation measures for fisheries;

—  to impose a licensing requirement for foreign fishing vessels within British fishing limits;

—  to require all fish caught within British fishing limits to be landed at a port within the British Islands or reported to the Ministers and made available for inspection;

—  to make it a criminal offence (with a potential prison sentence) to violate those requirements.

6.2  It seemed to us that these provisions might interfere with the right to free movement of goods and services, and would also be likely to interfere with the right to peaceful enjoyment of possessions under Article 1 of Protocol No 1 to the ECHR. The Chair of the Committee wrote to Mr Austin Mitchell MP drawing attention to our concerns. Mr Mitchell replied that the requirement to land fish at a port in the United Kingdom, Isle of Man or the Channel Islands or report it to a Minister, cannot be a breach of human rights because the fishermen catch the fish under quota. The implication is that it must be legitimate to require them to account in the United Kingdom for the amount caught. The correspondence is published as an appendix to this Report. We hope that it will help to clarify these issues.

6.3  We draw this matter to the attention of each House.

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