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CHAPTER VII.

REGULATION OF SALMON AND FRESHWATER FISHERIES.

THE general supervision of salmon and freshwater fisheries is entrusted to the Board of Trade by the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act, 1886. Before that Act it was entrusted to the Home Office.

The chief duties of the Board of Trade with regard to salmon and freshwater fisheries are to form the various fishery districts and salmon rivers, and to alter and combine them if required; to sanction the various acts of the different boards of conservators appointed under the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Acts, and to see that the various provisions of the statutes relating to salmon and freshwater fisheries are complied with. For this purpose the Board of Trade appoints inspectors who annually report to Parliament a statistical account of the fisheries, with such other information as may be collected, and suggestions offered for the regulation and improvement of the fisheries (a).

Under the supervision of the Board of Trade, many of the salmon and freshwater rivers are controlled by boards of conservators. These boards may be either for waters frequented by salmon, trout and char, or freshwater fish. Boards for waters frequented by salmon are created by the provisions of the Salmon Fishery Acts, 1865 to 1873, and the two other classes of boards are created by the Freshwater Fisheries Act, 1878, and Freshwater Fisheries Act, 1884. Before 1888 the inception of boards of conservators was in the custody of the justices of the peace for the county. Since the passing of the Local Government Act, 1888 (b), the powers of the justices of the peace as regards all fishery matters have been transferred to the county councils.

The method by which a fishery district and a board of conservators is now brought into existence is as follows: The county council petitions the Board of Trade to form into a fishery district all or any of the rivers lying wholly or partly in their county (c). The

(a) Salmon Fishery Act, 1861, s. 32.

(b) Sect. 3, sub-s. xiii.

(c) Salmon Fishery Act, 1865, s. 4.

Board defines the district and may make it of larger extent than the petition desires, and may make it extend into other counties (d). If the district lies wholly within one county, the county council appoints a board of conservators, and names the time and place for the first meeting (e).

When the fishery district extends into different counties, the county councils of the various counties affected each appoint a committee of three of their members, who form a joint fishery committee (f). The duty of this joint committee is to appoint the board of conservators for the whole district (g). They settle the number of conservators to be appointed to the board; the number to be appointed by each county; who are to be the first members; the time and place of the first meeting, and the quarter sessions by which the accounts are to be audited (h). On the completion of their duties as to the formation of the conservancy board the joint committee is dissolved (i).

The members of the board of conservators hold office for one year, and are eligible for re-appointment. The Board of Trade can alter the number of conservators to be annually appointed (k). In addition to the elected members there are certain ex officio and representative members (1), e.g. :

(1) The owner or occupier of a fishery which is assessed to the poor rate at 30l. a year.

(2) The owner of lands of an annual value of not less than 100%., and having a frontage of not less than one mile, and having the right to fish in the water adjoining, and having paid salmon license duty for the preceding year.

(3) In the case of public or common fisheries, fishermen duly licensed to fish otherwise than with rod and line, who have taken out licenses during the preceding season, may elect one member for every 501., or part thereof, of license duty paid.

The method by which the voting for the election of these additional members is conducted is set out in sects. 30-33 of the Salmon Fishery Act, 1873.

The board of conservators is a body corporate having perpetual succession, and can make contracts and sue and be sued in a

(d) R. v. Sir George Grey, (1866) L. R. 1 Q. B. 469.

(e) Salmon Fishery Act, 1865, s. 6.

(f) Ibid., s. 7.

(g) Ibid., s. 8.

(h) Ibid., s. 12.

(i) Ibid., s. 13.

(k) Salmon Fishery Act, 1873, s. 9; Ibid., s. 15.

(7) Salmon Fishery Act, 1873, ss. 26 29.

common name (m), and has power to appoint committees, and to fill up any casual vacancies occurring (n).

Boards of conservators for districts for trout and char and freshwater fish are appointed in the same way as conservators for a district for salmon (o).

(m) Salmon Fishery Act, 1865, s. 21.

(n) Salmon Fishery Act, 1865, ss. 15 and 23.

(0) Freshwater Fisheries Act, 1878, s. 6; Freshwater Fisheries Act, 1884, s. 2.

CHAPTER VIII.

POWERS OF BOARDS OF CONSERVATORS.

I.-Where Appointed under the Salmon Fishery Acts, 1865 and 1873.

A BOARD of conservators appointed under the Salmon Fishery Acts of 1865 and 1873 have power within their districts to do the following:

1. To appoint water bailiffs and other officers, and to assign to them their duties and salaries (a).

2. To issue such licenses for fishing as are provided by sects. 33 and 34 of the Salmon Fishery Act, 1865 (b).

3. To purchase by agreement, for the purpose only of removal, dams, fishing weirs, fishing mill-dams, or fixed engines, that it is expedient to remove for the benefit of the fisheries in their district (c).

4. To take legal proceedings against persons violating the provisions of the Salmon Fishery Acts, 1861 and 1865, or for the removal of such weirs or other fixed engines as they may be advised are illegal (d).

5. Generally to execute such works, do such acts and incur such expenses as are expedient for the protection and improvement of the salmon fisheries, the increase of salmon and the stocking of waters therewith. Provided that the exercise of the above powers (1 to 5) does not injuriously affect any navigable river, canal, or inland water (e).

6. With the consent of the Board of Trade to mortgage the license duties (f).

7. To report to the Board of Trade that any fish-pass or free gap in their district is capable of improvement, and to pay for the cost of altering it, if the Board so orders (g).

(a) The Salmon Fishery Act, 1865, s. 27 (i.).

(b) Ibid., s. 27 (ii.).

(c) Ibid., s. 27 (iii.).

(d) Ibid., s. 27 (iv.).

(e) Ibid., s. 27 (v.).
(f) Ibid., s. 28.
(g) Ibid., s. 32.

8. To apply to the Board of Trade to alter districts (h).

9. To grant licenses in accordance with the provisions of sect. 21 of the Salmon Fishery Act, 1873.

10. To expend moneys in their hands in any manner-not being illegal-they may think most conducive to the improvement of the salmon fisheries (i).

11. With approval of the Board of Trade to vary license duties (k). 12. To make bye-laws to the following purposes for the better execution of the Salmon Fishery. Acts, 1861 to 1873 (l) :—(a) To alter the annual and weekly close seasons for salmon; (b) to make bye-laws regulating the size of nets for salmon, not being fixed engines; (c) to determine the minimum size of nets for catching salmon; (d) to determine the rate and form of licenses; (e) the marking of nets and boats, &c.; (f) to prohibit the use of nets in certain localities; (g) to determine when the gaff may be used in connection with rod and line; (h) to regulate the use of gratings; (i) to regulate during the annual and weekly close seasons the use of nets for fish other than salmon. This power only extends to regulating or prohibiting the use of nets prejudicial to the salmon fishe ries. The board have no power to absolutely prohibit the use of every net without regard to the question whether the use of such net was prejudicial or not (m). (j) To prohibit the use in inland waters of any net, except a landing-net or a net for taking eels, between the expiration of the first hour after sunset and the last hour before sunrise (n).

13. To petition in certain events the Board of Trade for powers to compulsorily acquire a weir or obstruction, the removal of which will benefit the fishery (0).

14. To acquire riparian land (p), and to remove ancient weirs in certain cases (q).

15. To levy additional duties for permanent improvements (r).

16. To make orders as to gratings (s).

17. To alter the period during which it is illegal to take or kill trout or char (t).

(h) Salmon Fishery Act, 1873, s. 5.

(i) Ibid., s. 23.

(k) Ibid., s. 25.

(1) Ibid., s. 39. A summary of many of the bye-laws is set out in the annual report of the Inspectors of Fisheries.

(m) l'iller v. Berry, (1888) 59 L. T. 23; Wood v. Venton, (1890) 54 J. P. 662.

(n) Salmon Fishery Act, 1873, s. 39, sub-s. 12.

(0) Ibid., s. 49.

(p) Ibid., s. 50.

(q) Ibid., s. 51.

(r) Ibid., s. 57.

(8) Ibid., ss. 58, 60.

(t) Salmon Fishery Act, 1876, s. 4; Freshwater Fisheries Act, 1878, s. 10.

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