Consultation Fisheries Bill

Consultation opened on 18 August 2014. Closing date 10 November 2014.


The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) jointly sought views on policy proposals for a Fisheries Bill. The consultation ran for 12 weeks from 18 August until 10 November 2014.


Consultation description

DARD proposed to amend fisheries legislation (mainly the Fisheries Act (Northern Ireland) 1966 and the Sea Fish (Conservation) Act 1967) to modernise fisheries enforcement powers and aquaculture licensing. The consultation also included a proposal to amend the Foyle Fisheries Act (Northern Ireland) 1952 to allow for the introduction of a system of fixed penalties for inland fisheries offences.

DCAL  proposed to take the opportunity to modernise its enforcement activity (including to allow for the introduction of a system of fixed penalties for inland fisheries offences) and to align within the new legislation, the inland fisheries aspects of the Fisheries Act (Northern Ireland) 1966 with its obligations under a number of EU Directives.

57 written responses to the consultation were received, covering a number of different sectoral interests and the Departments have now completed a summary and analysis of the comments. This analysis, along with the Government response to the comments, is available on this page.

The summary seeks to reflect the general views offered but, inevitably, it is not possible to describe all the responses in detail. In line with the policy of openness, respondents were informed that their views would be made publicly available.  The responses are available on this page.

A Bill was introduced in the Assembly on 7 December 2015 that broadly follows most of the proposals that were included in the consultation. Given the short time available for the legislation to complete its Assembly Stages before the end of the current mandate, the Bill does not include the proposed provisions in relation to aquaculture licensing which, while desirable, are not essential and taking forward a smaller Bill will ensure that important policy in relation to sea and inland fisheries can be progressed in the current mandate. The aquaculture provisions will be taken forward in the future.

A copy of the Bill, as introduced in the Assembly, and the Explanatory and Financial Memorandum that accompanies the Bill, can be found on the Assembly website. The progress of the Bill in the Assembly can be followed at this link.

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