HL Deb 14 December 1992 vol 541 cc25-6WA
Viscount Mills

asked Her Majesty's Government:

If, in the light of the debate on 5th November 1992 (HL Deb, cols. 1552–1596] about salmon netting off the north-east coast of England, they will set out the respective responsibilities of the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the Secretary of State for Wales and the National Rivers Authority in relation to salmon fishing.

The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Earl Howe)

The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in respect of England—and, for Wales, the Secretary of State —have responsibility for policy on salmon and freshwater fisheries. This includes the national and international aspects. They also have statutory roles in considering and confirming proposals for regulatory measures developed by the National Rivers Authority, for example the Authority's bye-laws; orders limiting the numbers of licences in commercial fisheries; and fishing licence duties. The Fisheries Ministers also have general powers for the conservation and management of sea fisheries. These powers could extend to salmon and migratory trout at sea by an order made under the Sea Fish Conservation Act 1967.

The National Rivers Authority has been given a statutory duty, under the Water Resources Act 1991, to "maintain, improve and develop" salmon and freshwater fisheries. It is responsible, using the powers available to it under the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975 (as amended) and the 1991 Act, for both proposing and enforcing a range of regulatory measures, as described.

Finally, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Environment has overall and parent department responsibility for the National Rivers Authority, though no policy or statutory role in relation to salmon fisheries.