Appendix 6: Fishery Limits (United Kingdom)
Amendment Bill |
Letter from the Chair to Mr Austin Mitchell MP
As part of its function to consider human rights
in the United Kingdom, the Joint Committee on Human Rights examines
all bills introduced to either House with a view to reporting
to each House on their compatibility with Convention rights under
the Human Rights Act 1998, and with other rights which arise in
international law under human rights instruments by which the
United Kingdom is bound. The Committee is currently considering
the human rights implications of the Fishery Limits (United Kingdom)
Amendment Bill, which you introduced to the House of Commons.
As you know, the Bill would amend the Fishery Limits
Act 1976 in various ways. Among other effects, it would:
require all fish caught within British fishing limits
to be landed at a port within the British Islands and reported
to the Ministers and made available for inspection; and
make it a criminal offence (with a potential prison
sentence) to violate those requirements.
The Committee is concerned about the possibility
that these provisions would be likely to interfere with the right
to peaceful enjoyment of possessions under Article 1 of Protocol
No 1 to the ECHR.
In the light of this, the Committee is considering
whether to draw the attention of each House to the implications
of the Bill for those rights. The Committee understands the difficulties
which the sponsors of private members' bills, with limited resources,
often face in responding to questions from the Committee about
the human rights implications of their bills. Nevertheless, without
suggesting that you are under any obligation to respond to its
concerns, the Committee would of course give full weight to any
representations which you might wish to put before it.
The Committee is likely to be deciding on 17 November
2003 whether, and if so how, to report to each House on the Bill,
and so would be unable to take account of representations received
after 14 November 2003.
5 November 2003
Letter from Mr Austin Mitchell MP to the Chair
This is a late response to your letter of 5 November
which I have only just received. You say the committee is concerned
that two provisions of my Fishery Limits Bill interfere with peaceful
enjoyment of possessions.
I'm afraid you have misread the bill. The requirements
that fish be landed is not as you quote it "and" reported
but "or reported" This can hardly be an interference
with human rights because the fishermen catch the fish under quota.
The provision is taken from the regulations for the Common Fisheries
Policy coupled with the regulations enforced by HMG on quota hoppers,
i.e. foreign vessels registered as British which are now required
to land a proportion of their catch at British ports.
I realise that you will be deciding this issue on
l7 November but I do hope you'll take this explanation into account.
On a personal level I'll delighted for your committee to rule
that these provisions interfere with the rights of fishermen under
Article I of Protocol No l because in ruling that you will be
ruling that the CFP as at present operated infringes the rights
of British fishermen and quota hoppers registered as British but
foreign owned. As a critic of the CFP and the impositions it makes
on the rights of British fishermen to fish in their own waters
that will be wonderful ammunition for me so please go ahead and
use my late representations as a reason for not considering my
arguments However it might be fairer to you to say that whatever
my personal feelings you should be made aware of this.
16 November 2003