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Written Statement - Consultation on the removal of ‘historic’ or ‘grandfather’ rights for access to inshore fisheries

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Alun Davies, Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and European Programmes

The vision of the Wales Fisheries Strategy (published in 2008) is to support the development of viable and sustainable fisheries in Wales as an integral part of coherent policies for safeguarding fish stocks and the marine environment.  

Part of the regulation in place to assist with the achievement of that vision involves the prohibition of fishing in certain areas of the 0-6nm zone using boats that are in excess of certain size limits.

When those restrictions were introduced, certain transitional provisions were included to ensure that affected fishermen were not disproportionately affected by those new restrictions. Those transitional provisions took the form of exceptions which enable boats over the prescribed size and which meet certain criteria (mainly relating to the date of acquisition or the prior use of the relevant boat) to continue to fish in the restricted area.   Over the years these transitional or exceptional provisions have become known as “historic rights” or “grandfather rights”.

This means that several larger vessels are able to prosecute inshore fisheries when their contemporaries can not. This is an advantage given by legislation that should not be allowed to continue.

Therefore I have today launched a consultation on a draft Order to remove these rights in an attempt to help inshore fisheries achieve the aims of the Wales Fisheries Strategy 2008.

The consultation will close on the 2/2/12 and I hope to be able to introduce provisions to the Assembly by spring next year.