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Category: States Assembly

Scrutiny Calls for More Robust Policy Framework to Accompany Draft Sea Fisheries Regulations

Feb 03, 2023

The Environment, Housing & Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel published comments on the Draft Sea Fisheries (TCA – Licensing of Fishing Boats) (Amendment of Law and Regulations – No. 2) (Jersey) Regulations.

If adopted, the draft Regulations would provide the Minister with greater flexibility when issuing licences to replacement vessels and would allow the Minister to grant an in-principle decision prior to full application for a fishing vessel licence. Under the proposed draft Regulations each vessel will have a permit which will define:

• The type of fishing permitted on the vessel

• Fishing gears permitted

• The authorised catch tonnage and days of fishing permitted (some vessels may only be able to fish on a certain number of days per year). 

The Panel’s comments paper follows public hearings with the Jersey Fishermen’s Association(JFA) and the Minister for the Environment and highlights its concerns, including: 

• How permit conditions (such as caps on catch quota) will be monitored and enforced, particularly in the context of the Replacement Vessel Policy, which would allow French vessels to increase in size and power (10 percent increase in horsepower and 20 percent increase in tonnage).

• The lack of a detailed policy framework which is robust enough to reassure the panel that monitoring catch quota will be adequately enforced. Furthermore, there has been no confirmation on what the penalties will be if catch quota exceeds those permitted.The Panel has made four recommendations to the Minister for the Environment, as follows:

1. Ensuring that there are sufficiently robust mechanisms in place for the Government of Jersey to be able to verify with certainty that all vessels are compliant with the requirement to have V.M.S. (Vessel Monitoring System) satellite tracking technology.

2. V.M.S. tracking should not be relied on in isolation for monitoring catch quotas, other methods should be used including: regular sea patrols; encouraging suspicious activity to be reported by the industry for further investigation by Government; and prioritising access in real-time to the e-log system utilised by the French for recording catchquotas.

3. Providing more information in relation to the penalties that will be imposed for non-compliance with permit conditions. 

4. If the draft Regulations are adopted by the States, a more detailed Replacement Vessel Policy framework should be brought to the States Assembly for approval before the end of June 2023.

Deputy Steve Luce, Chair of the Panel, concluded: ‘It is evident that the JFA do not feel they have been afforded the opportunity to have their concerns fully heard by Government which is regretful, particularly given the considerable pressure and uncertainty the industry has been faced with in the last few years. Whilst the Panel is supportive of the draft Regulations and agrees this to be an important first step in implementing extent and nature licensing conditions under the TCA, we would like to see a more detailed policy framework in place to provide greater assurance and safeguards to ease concerns.’ 

Full comments paper is available here

States Assembly Press Notice

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