Alan Davies AM, Minister for Natural Resources and Food
I have today launched a further consultation regarding the proposal to remove the historic access rights.
There are certain regulations prohibiting boats over a certain size or capacity from fishing in the 0-6 nautical mile zone around Wales. At present, there are exceptions to those provisions which allow boats over the specified size or capacity limits to continue to fish in those areas. Those exceptions have become known as historic access rights or grandfather rights.
A formal consultation on proposals to remove historic access rights was undertaken between November 2011 and February 2012.
The majority of responses to the first consultation were supportive of the proposals. However, a number of concerns were raised which prompted further analysis and a number of complex issues arose as a result of that process. I consequently decided that a further period of consultation was needed in order to ensure that the Welsh Government has the fullest possible understanding of the current situation and the possible effects of the proposed removal of these historic access rights.
The new consultation document asks for views on the aims of the proposal to remove these rights, the evidence available in support of that proposal and the potential effects that the proposal may have on individuals and businesses.
For information, the aims of the proposal to remove historic access rights are:
- ensuring equality in relation to the regulation of fishing vessels operating in Wales;
- the protection of the Welsh marine environment; and
- the sustainability of fish stocks in Welsh waters.
This further consultation will begin today and close on 1 December 2013. I intend to make a decision on how to proceed as soon as practicable thereafter.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep Members informed. Should Members wish me to make a further statement or answer questions on this when the Assembly returns, I would be happy to do so.