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Elin Jones proposes Welsh Fisheries Zone
Currently the Welsh Assembly Government is responsible for fisheries up to 12 nautical miles from the shore. The proposal by the Minister is for a Welsh Fisheries Zone that will give responsibility for fisheries management and enforcement functions off the Welsh coast, up to the median lines between Wales, northern Ireland, England, Isle of Man and the Republic of Ireland. Median line is the half way point between two coastlines, for example between Wales and Ireland. This area is currently the responsibility of Defra.
This proposal would provide a far less complex patchwork of fisheries legislation off the Welsh coast, would make enforcement far easier and would give the fishermen clarity of control.
A mechanism for taking this proposal forward is possibly through the Marine Bill which was published in draft on 3 April for a period of Parliamentary pre-legislative scrutiny and public consultation, with the latter to end on 26 June.
The Assembly Government will be going out to consultation on this proposal shortly.
Elin Jones said:
We have already had initial discussions with colleagues in Whitehall about this proposal and the response has been positive. Extending the zone where responsibility for fisheries lies with the Assembly Government will have a positive impact on the fisheries industry in Wales. It would mean more of the seas and fish stocks would be the responsibility of the Assembly Government, and our decisions on fisheries will have more of an impact.
I will now be consulting with stakeholders on this proposal.