Diseases of Fish Act 1937

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1937 c. 33


Diseases of Fish Act, 1937

(1 Edw. 8 & 1 Geo. 6.) CHAPTER 33.

An Act to prevent the spreading of disease among salmon and freshwater fish in Great Britain.

[10th June 1937]

Be it enacted by the King's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

S-1 Restriction on importation of live fish and eggs of fish.

1 Restriction on importation of live fish and eggs of fish.

(1) It shall not be lawful to import or bring into Great Britain any live fish of the salmon family.

(2) It shall not be lawful to import or bring into Great Britain any live freshwater fish or live eggs of fish of the salmon family, or of freshwater fish, unless the fish or eggs are consigned to a person licensed under this section and the licence is produced at the time of the delivery under the Customs Acts of the entry of the consignment.

(3) The Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries (in this Act referred to as ‘the Minister’) may grant a licence to any person to have consigned to him such fish or eggs as are mentioned in the last foregoing subsection, and the following provisions shall have effect in relation to such licences, that is to say:—

(a ) a licence may be granted subject to such conditions as the Minister thinks fit as to the quantities or kinds of fish or eggs which may be imported or brought in under the licence, as to the disposal, transport, inspection, cleansing and disinfection of the fish or eggs and of the containers or other vessels in which they are to be transported or kept and otherwise as to the precautions which are to be taken for avoiding the spreading of disease among salmon and freshwater fish;

(b ) a licence may be granted for any period not exceeding twelve months but may be suspended or revoked by the Minister at any time during the currency thereof;

(c ) there shall on the grant of a licence be paid by the person applying therefor to the Minister such fee not exceeding five shillings as the Minister may, with the consent of the Treasury, determine.

(4) If any person in contravention of the provisions of this section imports or brings or procures to be imported or brought into Great Britain any live fish or eggs of fish or, being the holder of a licence under this Act, contravenes any condition subject to which the licence was granted, he shall be guilty of an offence; and any officer of police, officer of Customs and Excise, or inspector may seize any fish or eggs with respect to which he has reason to believe that such an offence has been committed and may detain them pending the determination of any proceedings instituted under this Act in respect of that offence or until the Minister is satisfied that no such proceedings are likely to be instituted.

(5) Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, where it is shown to the satisfaction of the Commissioners of Customs and Excise that any live fish or eggs of fish, of which the importation or bringing into Great Britain is prohibited or restricted by this section, are being imported or brought solely with a view to the re-exportation thereof after transit through Great Britain or by way of transhipment, the Commissioners may, subject to such conditions as they think fit to impose for securing the re-exportation of the goods, allow the fish or eggs of fish to be imported or brought as if the prohibition or restriction did not apply thereto.

S-2 Provisions as to infected areas.

2 Provisions as to infected areas.

(1) If, at any time, the Minister is satisfied as respects any area that any waters therein are infected waters, he may by order declare the area to be an infected area and may, to such extent as he considers necessary for the purpose of preventing the spreading of infection, by the same or a subsequent order prohibit or regulate the transport of live fish, or of eggs of fish or of foodstuff for fish, from that area.

Any order made under this subsection shall be published in the prescribed manner and may be varied or revoked by a subsequent order made under this subsection, and if any person contravenes any provision of such an order, he shall be guilty of an offence.

(2) During a period of three months next after the commencement of this Act the powers of the Minister under the last foregoing subsection may be exercised with respect to any area as to which the Minister is satisfied that any waters therein have within the previous twelve months been infected waters.

(3) The occupier of any waters in an area declared by an order made under this section to be an infected area shall be entitled, on application, to be supplied by the Minister free of charge with a report of the evidence on which the order was made.

(4) Where an order is in force under this section declaring an area to be an infected area, the Minister may by notice in writing served on any occupier of any waters in that area give directions requiring him to take all practicable steps to secure the removal of dead or dying fish from the waters and regulating the manner in which any fish removed from the waters are to be disposed of:

Provided that no notice shall be served under this subsection in respect of waters in the district of a fishery board, not being a fish farm.

(5) If the Minister is satisfied that any direction contained in a notice served under this section has not been complied with within the time limited by the notice, he may authorise an inspector to carry out the direction, and any expenses reasonably incurred by the inspector in so doing shall be recoverable summarily as a civil debt by the Minister from the person upon whom the notice was served; and if any person does any act which is prohibited by such a notice, he shall be guilty of an offence unless he shows that he did not know that the act was so prohibited.

(6) Where an order is in force under this section declaring an area to be an infected area, the Minister, if he is satisfied that for the protection against disease of the stock of fish in any waters it is necessary so to do, may, by such a notice as aforesaid or otherwise in writing, authorise any occupier of any waters in that area to remove, notwithstanding anything in any agreement to the contrary, any fish from the waters and to do so by such agents and by such methods (including methods otherwise illegal) as the Minister considers to be most expedient for the purpose:

Provided that the powers conferred by this subsection shall not be exercised in respect of waters in the district of a fishery board, not being a fish farm.

(7) Where an occupier of any waters has in pursuance of an authority conferred under the last foregoing subsection removed any fish from any waters, he shall comply with any directions given to him by the Minister as to the manner in which those fish are to be disposed of, and, if he fails to comply with any such directions, he shall be guilty of an offence.

(8) Where any occupier of any waters in an area which is declared by an order in force under this section to be an infected area—

(a ) has removed any dead or dying fish from those waters; or

(b ) has removed any fish from those waters after a notice or authority has been served on or given to him under subsection (6) of this section,

he shall, within seven days or such longer time as the Minister may allow, notify the number of the fish so removed to the Minister, or, if the waters are in the district of a fishery board and are not a fish farm, to the fishery board.

S-3 Powers and duties of fishery boards.

3 Powers and duties of fishery boards.

(1) Any fishery board who have reasonable ground for suspecting that any waters, not being a fish farm, are infected waters, shall forthwith report the facts to the Minister, and may take any practicable steps for securing the removal of dead or dying fish from the waters.

The Minister on receiving any such report as aforesaid with respect to any waters, shall forthwith cause an investigation to be made as to whether they are infected waters.

(2) Where any area is declared by an order in force under the last foregoing section to be an infected area, the Minister may authorise any fishery board to remove any fish from any waters in that area (not being a fish farm) and to do so by such agents and by such methods (including methods otherwise illegal) as he considers to be most expedient for the purpose.

(3) Every fishery board—

(a ) shall destroy or otherwise properly dispose of all fish removed under any powers conferred on them by or under this section; and

(b ) shall at such times as the Minister may direct send to him a return stating the number of fish so removed and the number of fish notified to them by any occupier in accordance with the provisions of the last foregoing section as having been removed by him...

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