Several and Regulating Orders

The right to collect named species of molluscan shellfish and crustacea may be assigned exclusively to named individuals, companies, organisations, or local communities under a Several Order. This completely removes (or ‘severs’) the public right to fish for (a) named species in a certain area for the purpose of developing the fishery. Additionally, Section 7 (Protection of fisheries) of the Sea Fisheries (Shellfish) Act 1967 establishes a system for protecting the named shellfish from harm, such as may potentially be caused by disturbance of the shore during the collection of species not named in the Several Order. Bait digging, stone turning or the installation of crab tiles may, therefore, potentially be controlled under Section 7(4)(e) within an area covered by a Several Order. In this way, Several Orders may indirectly bring opportunities for management measures that are of benefit to the conservation of biodiversity as well as the fishery concerned, for example by regulating bait digging activity which would be equally detrimental to e.g. cockle stocks as to wildlife and habitats.

In Scotland, Several Orders provide, inter alia, the principal tool for bringing management of shellfisheries more directly under the control of local communities (A. Downie pers. comm.).

A Regulating Order allows a wider range of controls to be made to regulate a public fishery. The fishery remains a public fishery, but the Order generally requires a license to be obtained by all individuals wishing to fish. Licenses may be granted to every applicant, laying out the conditions under which fishing is permitted (e.g. using specified methods or setting quotas), or more usually only to a limited number of fishermen, thus managing fishing effort. The protection afforded by section 7(4)(e) of the Sea Fisheries (Shellfish) Act 1967 does not apply to Regulating Orders. This form of Order is usually granted to public bodies (i.e. Sea Fisheries Committees in England and Wales, Local Authorities, or any other suitable body or consortia of organisations (e.g. a consortium in Shetland including the local authority, fishermen’s association, Scottish Natural Heritage and others).

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