Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Thirteenth Report


APPENDIX V

Memorandum by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food


FISH HEALTH REGULATIONS 1997 (S.I. 1997/1881)

  The Committee has requested in its letter of 5 November 1997 a memorandum on the following points:

  (1)   Regulation 11(1) prohibits any person from exporting from Great Britain to another part of the European Community any aquaculture animal or aquaculture product which does not meet, or is not despatched in accordance with, the requirements of the relevant provisions of Directive 91/67/EEC (including any option permitted by that directive which has been exercised in relation to its destination) or which is not accompanied by any documents required under Directive 91/67/EEC. Explain the purpose and effect of the underlined words.

  The intended purpose and effect of the underlined words is to ensure that aquaculture animals and aquaculture products which are exported from Great Britain to another member State fulfil not only the requirements set out in the Directive, but also any additional requirements which a member State is entitled to impose by virtue of having exercised any of the options permitted by the Directive.

  The wording which the Committee has underlined does not specify which requirement will apply in individual cases. In practice, however, the Ministry is confident that requirements in respect of exports are fulfilled.

  The reason for this view is that at the time the Fish Health Regulations were first made the Ministry issued guidance to industry explaining how the new Community system would work. This guidance is reviewed regularly and updated as necessary. In the guidance notes, exporters are advised they must contact CEFAS or MLA (agencies of the Ministry and Scottish Office respectively) to discuss proposed exports. CEFAS and MLA are able to assist exporters in ascertaining the import requirements of the member State of destination. Staff at CEFAS and MLA are also responsible for issuing any additional documentation which is required by an importing member State and would not do so unless they were sure that the consignment fulfilled the requirements of the importing member State.

  The Ministry recognises that the wording could refer to the requirement more precisely and undertakes to clarify the wording of Regulation 11(1) when the Regulations are next amended.

    (2)   Explain the effect of subjecting the powers conferred on a veterinary inspector by regulation 15 to the provisions referred to in paragraph (1) (regulation 10 of the Animals and Animal Products (Import and Export) Regulations 1995 and regulation 13 of the Products of Animal Origin (Import and Export) Regulations 1996).

  The intended effect of subjecting the powers conferred on a veterinary inspector by regulation 15 to the provisions referred to in paragraph 1 is to ensure that checks on introductions of aquaculture animals and aquaculture products are carried out in accordance with the United Kingdom's single market obligations.

  However, as the provisions of regulation 10 of the Animals and Animal Products (Import and Export) Regulations and regulation 13 of the Products of Animal Origin (Import and Export) Regulations do not, in fact, limit the powers in regulation 15 of these Regulations it is clear that subjecting the powers in regulation 15 to them is superfluous. The Ministry undertakes to correct the provision at the next opportunity.

    (3)   Explain why, in Schedule 3, special provision is made for the Island of Gigha.

  Special provision is made in Schedule 3 for the island of Gigha because it has a different health status from the rest of Great Britain.

  This memorandum has been agreed with the Scottish Office.

11th November 1997

Second Memorandum by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

FISH HEALTH REGULATIONS 1997 (S.I. 1997/1881)

  On 10 November the Committee requested further detail in respect of the third point contained in its letter of 5 November 1997:

    (3)   Explain why, in Schedule 3, special provision is made for the Island of Gigha.

  Special provision is made in Schedule 3 for the Island of Gigha because it has a different health status from the rest of Great Britain.

  Council Directive 91/67/EEC allows member States to seek disease free "approved zone" status in respect of two fish diseases, VHS and IHN. Aquaculture animals and aquaculture products may be moved freely within the zone but aquaculture animals and aquaculture products which are to be introduced into the zone must either come from a zone of equal or higher health status, or alternatively fulfil certain requirements to minimise the risk of introducing disease. The United Kingdom has applied for and been granted approved zone status in respect of both diseases for Great Britain.

  In 1994 there was an outbreak of the disease VHS on the Island of Gigha. In accordance with the requirements of Directive 91/67 it was necessary for the UK to withdraw approved zone status from Gigha. The result is that, for the purposes of VHS, Gigha is now a separate zone from the remainder of Great Britain. Movements of dead fish between Gigha and the rest of Great Britain are subject to regulation 8.

  This memorandum has been agreed with the Scottish Office.

11th November 1997


 
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