The Minister has powers to make byelaws for the management, protection and improvement of fisheries in the State. Regulations may be made in relation to fishing licences, times and seasons for taking and fishing for specified classes of fish, regulation of fish engines, nets and other matters for the protection of the fishery.
The Minister may issue permits for catching fish for certain purposes include restocking and scientific purposes.
The Minister may prohibit the importation into the State of live fish and other aquatic animals and the eggs or young of such fish or animals otherwise than in accordance with a licence.
Part 7 of the Fisheries Act regulates the use and size of nets. The Minister may prohibit the sale of nets or netting of a prescribed class. It is an offence to sell netting in contavention of such order. It is an offence to use nets of certain types and descriptions. Conviction can lead to forfeiture.
Part 8 of the legislation deals with fishing weirs, dams, obstructions and fixed engines. Generally they are prohibited unless certain historical licences are held. The Minister may cause any such weir, mill, dam or fixed engine to be demolished and the expenses incurred are recoverable from the occupier of the same as s debt. It is an offence to use a fishing weir, dam or engine for the capture of fish in the freshwater part of any river or lake unless the same was in existence lawfully between 1936 and 1938.
The ESB may be authorised to construct and maintain a fishing weir where it acquires rights in respect of a river. The Minister may serve a notice on an occupier of a dam which is constructed or maintained so as not to allow the free run or migration of fish to carry out repair works as may be specified. Procedures must be followed where the works or compliance would effect the operation of a mill or factory.
If the notice would involve a reduction of more than 5% in the working power of the factory or mill the notice must be withdrawn. If it does not so disclose a copy is served and the matter is referred to the President of the Institute of Engineers or other person for investigation. If the investigator agrees he must inform the occupier who must take steps to comply with the notice. It is an offence for the occupier of a dam to fail to comply with the notice.
Where a dam has been abandoned or disused for over five years and obstructs or contributes to the obstruction or free passage of fish, a notice may be served requiring works within the time stated. If they are not undertaken the Minister may enter and undertake the works and recover the costs from the owner or occupier.
If there are natural obstructions to the passage and migration of fish the Minister may on the application of any person interested in the fishery of such river or lake who deposits sufficient security may be pwermitted to construct or contract for the provision of works to allow the free and uninterrupted passage of fish. Such works must not interfere with the power of a mill, factory or drainage. Fisheries Authorities (IFI) may take steps for the removal of natural obstructions.
The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food is the competent authority dealing with the area of aquaculture (fish farming) in Ireland. The Aquaculture Licensing Section of the Aquaculture & Foreshore Management Division co-ordinates the administration of licences for:
- Marine finfish: e.g. salmon, rainbow trout, cod
- Land-based finfish: e.g. turbot, perch, salmon hatcheries
- Shellfish: e.g. oysters, mussels, scallops, clams, abalone, sea urchin.
- Cultivation of aquatic plants e.g. seaweed
- Other procedures and formalities required to engage in aquaculture in Ireland involve: land based aquaculture may require planning permission and a discharge permit from the local authority. Applications for aquaculture licences may also be subject to environmental assessment if located close to Natura 2000 conservation
Operation of Fisheries
The Minister has power of operate a fishery vested in him. He may do all the things necessary for carrying on such fishery as a commercial undertaking he could do as a private individual. He may
- buy and sell fish
- buy, sell or manufacture any article required in connection with the capture, storage, transport, treatment, purchase and sale of fish,
- carry on any business which is ancillary or residential to the fishery enter contract.
- research into the life history or habits of salmon or other fresh water fish and of the economic conditions affecting commercial development of fisheries,
- take on lease any fishery.
The Minister has powers to make byelaws for the government management and protection and improvement of fisheries. The Minister retains powers to make byelaws for the governance management, protection and improvement of fisheries. Procedures for setting the byelaws are set out in the legislation.
The Minister may specify the fishery year. The Minister has extensive powers to make byelaws under the Fisheries Act. Byelaws may regulate fisheries and preserve good order. They may provide
- times and seasons when the taking of species of fish may commence or cease,
- times and places when a fishing engine may be employed,
- description of nets to be used in fisheries,
- prohibition on use of nets,
- prohibition of fishing engine,
- prohibition on any practice tending to impede lawful capture of fish or be detrimental to fisheries
- imposition of prohibitions or restriction of an emergency nature in respect of any specified engine or engines or species of fish,
- any other matter in relation to the governance and protection of fisheries.
There is provision for publication of the byelaws. They are to be deposited with certain public bodies including the District Courts clerk, County Registrar, and Garda Siochana. Persons aggrieved by proposed byelaws may appeal against them to the High Court.
Breach of byelaws is an offence subject to prosecution.
Provision was made in the Fisheries Act 1980 for trial on indictment for breach of certain byelaws. This includes byelaws relating to
- the use of drift nets for fishing for salmon,
- drift net on board on boats in specified areas,
- use of monofilament net in fishing for salmon and trout,
- possession of monofilament net with a specified mesh on a quay or estuary.
The offences may be prosecuted summarily or on indictment.
Byelaws may be specific to localities including
- annual close season for salmon and trout,
- annual close season for angling for salmon,
- annual close seasoning for angling for trout,
- annual close season for pollan,
- annual close season for eels,
- close seasons for oysters,
- prohibition on dredging for oysters,
- close season for molluscs,
- prohibition on taking molluscs other than oysters during a specified period.
Under one power, enquiries are required where byelaws are made. There is an alternative power which is more commonly used which does not require this procedure.
Special tidal waters.
The Minister may, with the concurrence of the Minister for Finance, from time to time by order declare that any particular tidal waters shall be special tidal waters for the purposes of this Act.
This provision applies to the tidal waters of any particular river or estuary in which, for not less than twenty years before the 1 st day of January, 1933, a several fishery was believed to exist and was enjoyed as of right, but in respect of which either –
- it was, after the 1st day of January, 1933 (whether before or after the passing ofthis Act), judicially determined in a court of competent jurisdiction that no several fishery existed in such tidal waters, or
- the person, who on the 1 st day of January, 1933, exercised as of right the said several fishery in such tidal waters does not nor does any other person claim tohave or enjoy as of right a several fishery in such tidal waters.
Power of Minister to hold inquiries into fisheries
The Minister may from time to time cause an inquiry to be held in any fishery district in relation to the fisheries therein or any of them and the best means to
- be adopted for the regulation, improvement or protection thereof, and for this purpose
- may appoint an officer of the Minister to hold such inquiry.
The Minister may from time to time by order –
- define, by reference to a map or otherwise, what is to be the boundary of the mouth of any river,
- define, by reference to a map or otherwise, what is to be the boundary of the mouth of any tributary river at its entrance into any other river,
- define, by reference to a map or otherwise, what is to be the boundary between the tidal and freshwater portions of any river,
- define the points of termination of certain distances under the legislaiton and illustrate, by map or otherwise, the said points oftermination and the space within which it is prohibited by the saidprovision to use or practise certain modes of fishing,
- define, by reference to a map or otherwise, the point or points of the mouth of any river from which distances are to be measured under this
Where several streams flow into a common mouth or estuary the Minister mayby order declare that the outlets of such streams shall form separate mouths.
Provisions in relation to publication and deposit of bye-laws, etc., and appeal against bye-laws, etc.
Such instrument shall, as soon as may be after it is made, be published in the Iris Oifigiuil and a notice advising of the making of the instrument and its contents shall be published in one or more newspapers circulating in the district affected by the instrument;
a copy of such instrument shall, within one month after it comes into operation,be deposited –
- with the county registrar for every county or county borough which or part of which is affected thereby, and
- with the District Court Clerk of every Court District which or part of which is affected thereby, and
- in every station of the Garda Siochana within the area affected thereby;
any person aggrieved by such instrument may, within twenty-eight days after the publication in the Iris Oifigiuil, appeal against such instrument to the High Court, and the following provisions shall apply in relation to any such appeal –
the appeal may be heard by one or more judges of the High Court as maybe convenient,
the High Court may on the appeal confirm or annul such instrument, but f such instrument is annulled such annulment shall be without prejudice to the validity of anything done under or in pursuance of such instrument before such annulment, the decision of the High Court on the appeal shall be final andconclusive, the order made by the High Court on such appeal shall be published in like manner as such instrument is to be published and shall be deposited in like manner as suchinstrument deposited.
Regulations for fishing by holders of special local licences
The Minister may make regulations in relation to all or any of the following matters:
- the times and the places respectively at which holders of special local licences may fish under such licences;
- the keeping of order among holders of special local licences at or on the particular tidal waters to which such licences relate.
Every person who does any act (whether of omission or commission) which is a contravention of a regulation made under this provision shall be guilty of an offence under this provision and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding €200.
Returns by holders of special local licences
The Minister may make regulations in relation to all or any of the
- the returns to be made by holders of special local licences;
- the persons to whom such returns are to be made;
- the times at which such returns are to be made;
- the forms in which such returns are to be made,
Every person, required by regulations made uder this provision to make any return, who fails or refuses to make such return in accordance in all respects with such regulations or who makes in any such return any statement which is false or misleading in any material respect shall be guilty of an offence under this provision and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding €200.
Nothing in the Fisheries Act or in any
instrument made thereunder shall prohibit anything done by the Minister or aperson previously authorised in writing by the Minister in that behalf for the purpose of the artificial propagation of fish, for some scientific purpose or for the improvement or development of any fishery.
A person authorised by the Minister under this provision to do anything shall be furnished by the Minister with a certificate of such authorisation and when doing anything pursuant to the authorisation shall, if requested by any person affected, produce the certificate to that person.
Power of Minister to take on lease fisheries for research purposes
The Minister, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, may, for the purposes of any scheme of research into the life history of and habits of salmon or any freshwater fish and the economic conditions affecting the commercial development of fisheries, take on lease any fishery.
The Minister may, by order prohibit the import of any specified kind of article to which this provision applies otherwise than under and in accordance with a licence in that behalf issued under the provision.
The Minister may by order revoke or amend any order made by him under this provision. If any person imports or attempts to import any article, the importation of which is prohibited by a restriction on import (fish) order such person shall be guilty of an offence under this provision and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding €2,000.
On the application of any person the Minister may, if he thinks fit, issue to such person a licence to import a specified number of any article of any kind the importation of which is prohibited by a restriction on import (fish) order, and may attach to such licence such conditions as he may think proper and specify in such licence.
This provision applies to the following articles, live fish or other aquatic animals, and the eggs or young of fish or other aquatic animals.
Annual report by the Minister.
The Minister shall as soon as may be after the expiration of each year lay before each House of the Oireachtas a report containing for such year – particulars of his proceedings under this Act, and so far as practicable, a statistical account of the fisheries in the State, arranges and classified under such different heads as appear to the Minister to be most suitable for the purpose.
Where Inland Fisheries Ireland issues in any month any special local licences, Inland Fisheries Ireland shall, not later than thirty days after the expiration of such month, pay to the Minister in respect of every special local licence issued by Inland Fisheries Ireland in such month a sum equal to the difference between –
the licence duty which would have been paid in respect thereof if it had been an ordinary licence authorising the use of the same kind of fishing engine as that to which such special local licence relates, and the special local licence duty paid in respect of such licence.