SEA FISHERIES ACT

SEA FISHERIES ACT

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

SECTION

1. Licensing of motor fishing boats.

2. Unlicensed motor fishing boat enjoying innocent passage.

3. Application for a licence.

4. Grounds for issue of a licence, etc.

5. Operating with expired licence.

6. Renewal of a licence.

7. Appeals.

8. Returns.

9. Enforcement of the Act.

10. Prohibited method of fishing.

11. Offences.

12. False statement.

13. Forfeiture, etc.

14. Regulations.

15. Interpretation.

16. Repeal and transitional provisions.

17. Short title.

SEA FISHERIES ACT

An Act to provide for the control, regulation and protection of sea fisheries in the territorial waters of Nigeria.

[1992 No. 71.]

[ Commencement.]

1. Lice nsing of motor fishing boats

[30th November, 1992]

(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, no person shall operate or navigate any motor fishing boat for the purpose of fishing or a reefer vessel for the purpose of dis – charging frozen fish within the territorial waters of Nigeria or its exclusive economic zone, unless that boat or reefer vessel has been duly registered and licensed.

(2) Any person operating or navigating or caus ing to be operated or navigated a mo- tor fishing boat or a reefer vessel in contravention of subsection (1) of this section shall be guilty of an offence under this Act and on conviction shall be liable to imprisonment for five years or to a tine of $250,000 or to both such fine and imprisonment and in addi- tion forfeiture of the motor fishing boat and the fish or shrimp catch on board.

(3) The provisions of this section shall not apply to any motor fishing boat or a reefer vessel entering the territorial waters of Nigeria not for fishing or the disposal of fish, but solely for re-fuelling at any port or for shelter, or solely because the motor fishing boat or reefer vessel is in distress or there is any other emergency.

2. Unlicensed motor fishing boat enjoying innocent passage

Every unlicensed motor fishing boat in transit or enjoying the right of innocent pas – sage within Nigeria’s territorial waters or its exclusive economic zone shall have its –

(a) fishing gear stowed wholly inboard;

(b) nets and trawl boards disconnected from towing warps or hauling ropes; and

(c) fishing gear above deck firmly secured to the vessel’s super structure as it is customary when steaming to and from the fishing ground.

3. Application for a licence

(1) Any person being the owner of a motor fishing boat may apply to a licensing offi- cer for a licence in respect of the motor fishing boat to–

(a) trawl for fish or shrimp in Nigeria’s territorial waters or Nigeria’s exclusive

economic zone; or

(b) navigate for the purpose of discharging imported frozen fish in any Nigerian port; or

(c) navigate Nigerian or foreign waters for the purpose of processing or discharg – ing wet fish caught from such waters in any Nigerian port.

(2) An application for a licence shall be in such form and manner as may be pre- scribed and shall-

(a) contain the particulars and descriptions of the motor fishing boat in respect of which the application is made; and

(b) a statement in detail as to-

(i) the methods to be employed for taking fish;

(ii) the area within which it is proposed that the motor fishing boat shall operate;

(iii) the arrangements that are to be made for the preservation and market- ing of the catch in Nigeria; and

(iv) such particulars as may be required, from time to time, by regulations made under this Act.

4. Grounds for issue of a licence, etc.

(1) On being satisfied that-

(a) an application for a licence has been made in the prescribed manner and con – tains all the information that is required under section 3 of this Act;

(b) the prescribed fees have been paid;

(c) the applicant is the lawful owner of the motor fishing boat in respect of which the application is made, and that he is a fit and proper person to be granted a licence; and

(d) the operation of the motor fishing boat in the territorial waters of Nigeria or its exclusive economic zone is not likely to be prejudicial to the interests of sea fishing industry in Nigeria,

the licensing officer shall issue a licence in respect of the motor fishing boat.

(2) Subject to the provisions of this Act, a licence shall be in the prescribed form and may be issued subject to such conditions as the licensing officer may think fit to impose, and any conditions so imposed shall be endorsed on the licence.

(3) A licence shall be a yearly licence or a quarterly licence, and-

(a) if the licence is a yearly licence, it shall expire on 31 st December in the year in which it is issued;

(b) if the licence is a quarterly licence, it shall expire on the 31 st March, the 30th June, 30th September, or 31 st December, whichever day falls next after the date of the issue of the licence.

(4) Where the ownership of a motor fishing boat in respect of which a licence has been issued is transferred from one person to another person, the licence shall not be valid in respect of the new owner of the vessel until such time as a licensing officer has approved the transfer of the ownership of the motor fishing boat and has endorsed the licence to that effect.

(5) A licensing officer may, without assigning any reason-

(a) cancel a licence; or

(b) suspend a licence for such period as he thinks fit.

5. Operating wi th expire d licence

Any person who operates a motor fishing boat with an expired licence shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a tine of N50,000 and forfeiture of catch.

6. Renewal of a licence

The provisions of this Act relating to application for a licence and the issue of a li- cence shall apply in relation to an application for the renewal of the licence and to such renewal.

7. Appeals

(1) Any person aggrieved by any refusal by a licensing officer to issue or renew a li- cence or by the cancellation or suspension of a licence or by any condition endorsed on a licence may, within fourteen days of receiving notice of the refusal, cancellation, suspen – sion or endorsement, appeal to the Minister in respect thereof.

(2) After considering any appeal made under subsection (1) of this section the Min- ister shall take such decision thereon as he deems fit and the licensing officer shall give effect thereto, accordingly.

(3) The decision of the Minister on any appeal under this section shall be final.

8. Returns

The owner of a motor fishing boat in respect of which a licence has been issued shall-

(a) render to a licensing officer such periodical returns concerning the operation of the motor fishing boat as may be prescribed; and

(b) permit a licensing officer or any person authorised in writing by a licensing officer to inspect the catch of the motor fishing boat either before or after the catch has been landed and shall give the licensing officer or that person all reasonable facilities for the inspection of the catch.

9. Enforcement of the Act

(1) An authorised person may, within the territorial waters of Nigeria or its exclusive economic zone for the purpose of enforcing any provision of this Act –

(a) require the owner or the person in charge of a motor fishing boat in respect of which a licence has been issued, to exhibit his licence, fishing apparatus and catch;

(b) require the owner or the person in charge of any motor fishing boat or any per- son engaged in fishing to exhibit his fishing apparatus and catch;

(c) go on board any motor fishing boat, search and examine the motor fishing boat and any fishing apparatus that may be therein;

(d) where there is reasonable suspicion that an offence under this Act has been committed, take the alleged offender and the motor fishing boat, fishing appa- ratus and catch to the most convenient port or police station.

(2) The powers vested in an authorised person under subsection (1) of this section may be exercised by him without warrant, summons or other process.

(3) Any motor fishing boat or apparatus taken from an alleged offender under the provisions of paragraph (d) of subsection (l) of this section, may be detained or kept pending the trial of the alleged offender, and the catch may be sold and the proceeds of the sale detained or kept pending such trial.

(4) Any motor fishing boat, apparatus or money detained or kept under subsection (3) of this section shall, unless forfeited under the provisions of sections I (2) or 13 of this Act, be returned to the person from whom the name was taken or to the lawful owner thereof.

(5) If a motor fishing boat, after detention under subsection (3) of this section, pro – ceeds to sea before it is released by an authorised person or a court, the master of the motor fishing boat and also the owner and any person who sends the motor fishing boat to sea, if the owner or person is privy to the master’s offence, shall be guilty of an offence under this Act.

(6) In this section, “an authorised pe rson” means-

(a) a licensing officer;

(b) any commissioned officer in the Nigerian Army, Navy or Air Force;

(c) a police officer not below the rank of assistant superintendent of police;

(d) a customs officer not below the rank of assistant preventive superintendent;

(e) a surveyor or examiner appointed under the provisions of the Merchant Ship- ping Act; and

[Cap . M ll.]

(f) any other person authorised in writing by the Minister in that behalf.

10. Prohibited method of fishing

(1) No person shall take or destroy or attempt to take or destroy any fish within the territorial waters of Nigeria or its exclusive economic zone by any of the following meth – ods, that is-

(a) by the use of any explosive substance; or

(b) by the use of any noxious or poisonous matter.

(2) Any person, who contravenes the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to imprisonment for two years or a fi ne of N50,000.

11. Offences

Any person who-

(a) contravenes or fails to comply with any of the provisions of this Act; or

(b) contravenes or fails to comply with any requirement made under this Act; or

(c) contravenes or fails to comply with any condition endorsed on a licence; or

(d) is in breach of any regulation made under this Act,

for which no penalty is prescribed, shall be guilty of an offence under this Act and liable on conviction to a fine of N 50,000.

12. False statement

If any person, in furnishing any information for the purposes of procuring a licence, makes a false statement which he knows to be false in any material particular, that person shall be guilty of an offence under this Act and liable on conviction to a fine of N50,OOO.

13. Forfeiture, etc.

A court before which any person is convicted of an offence under this Act may-

(a) order the forfeiture to the Government of the Federation of any fishing boat, apparatus or catch employed in the commission of or derived from any act in respect of which that person is so convicted;

(b) where the fishing boat employed in the commission of the offence is a motor boat in respect of which a licence had been issued, cancel the licence or sus – pend the licence for such time as the court may think fit.

14. Regulations

(l) The Minister may make regulations –

(a) for furthering the interests of sea fishing industry in Nigeria; and

(b) for giving effect to the provisions of this Act.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing provisions of this section , regulations made under this section may-

(a) regulate, prohibit or restrict the taking of fish in any specific area within the territorial waters of Nigeria;

(b) prohibit or restrict the use of any fishing boat, apparatus or method of taking fish that is considered harmful to the sea fishing industry in Nigeria;

(c) prescribe limits to the size of nets or the mesh of nets that may be employed in the taking of fish within the territorial waters of Nigeria, or in any specific area therein;

(d) prescribe the form of a licence and the amount of fee to be paid in respect of a licence;

(e) provide for the inspection of buildings and premises used for the curing, pre- servation, storage or sale of fresh, cured or preserved fish;

(f) provide for the seizure and destruction of any fresh, cured or preserved fish that is unfit for human or animal consumption;

(g) provide for the exemption of specified persons from any provision of this Act where such exemption is considered necessary for scientific or experimental purposes in connection with the development of the sea fishing industry in Ni-

geria or otherwise for the furtherance of the national interest of the Federation;

(h) regulate any other matter relating to the conservation and protection of the stocks of sea fish.

15. Interpretation

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires –

“exclusive economic zone” has the meaning assigned to it in the Exclusive Economic Zones Act;

[Cap. EI7.]

“fish” means any aquatic creature whether fish or not and includes shell-fish, crusta- ceans, turtles and aquatic mammals;

“fishing boat” means any ship, boat, canoe or other craft used for the taking of fish for sale or barter;

“licence” in relation to a motor fishing boat, means a licence issued under section 4 of this Act;

“licensing officer” means the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, or any person appointed by him to carry out any of the provisions of this Act;

“Minister” means the Minister charged with responsibility for fisheries;

“motor fishing boat” means any fishing boat propelled by means of steam, internal combustion or other machinery except one or more portable outboard engines;

“port” includes a place and harbour;

“prescribed” means prescribed by regulations under this Act;

“taking fish” includes any method of catching fish;

“territorial waters of Nigeria” has the same meaning as in section 1 of the Territo- rial Waters Act.

[Cap. T5.]

16. Repeal and transitional provisions

(1) The Sea Fisheries Act is hereby repealed.

[Cap. 404 L.F.N. 1990.]

(2) The repeal of the enactment mentioned in subsection (1) of this Act shall not af- fect anything done under the repealed enactment prior to the commencement of this Act.

(3) Accordingly any licence issued under the repealed Act being a licence that was in force immediately before the date of the commencement of this Act, shall from that date have effect as if it were a licence issued under this Act.

(4) Any licence, which under subsection (2) of this section has effect as if it were a licence issued under this Act, shall from the date of commencement of this Act be read and construed with such adaptations and modifications as may be necessary for the pur- poses of this Act, and subject to section 6 of this Act, the licence may on or after that date be cancelled or suspended or be made subject to the new conditions, by a licensing offi- cer.

17. Short title

This Act may be cited as the Sea Fisheries Act.

SEA FISHERIES ACT

SUBSIDIARY LEGISLATION

List of Subsidiary Lgislation

1. Sea Fisheries (Licensing) Regulations.

2. Sea Fisheries (Fishing) Regulations.

3. Sea Fisheries (Fish Inspection and Quality Assurance) Regulations.

SEA FISHERIES (LICENSING) REGULATIONS

[S.1. 18 of 1992.]

under section 13

1. Pre-purchase assurance

[Commencement.]

[17th December, 1992]

(1) A prospective owner of a fishing vessel intended for fishing or shrimping in Nige- ria’s territorial waters shall first obtain a written assurance that such a vessel would be granted a fishing or shrimping licence before arrangement for the purchase of the vessel

is concluded.

(2) A prospective owner of any type of trawler or fishing vessel shall obtain a letter of support for fishing operations in foreign waters.

2. Submission of feasibility studies, etc .

Every application for a licence shall be in writing supported by –

(a) a feasibility report on the proposed fishing venture;

(b) a copy of the article and memorandum of association of the company certified by the Registrar-General of the Corporate Affairs Commission;

(c) a copy of the certificate of registration of the company; and

(d) a deletion certificate in case of an old vessel.

3. Registration of vessel

(1) Every vessel intended for fishing or shrimping purposes shall first be registered with the Federal Ministry of Transport.

(2) Every such registered vessel shall carry the Nigeria’s national flag.

4. Survey against and tonnage Measurement

(1) Upon presentation by the applicant to the Federal Ministry of Transport of an authentic clean bill of sale or deletion certificate in respect of the vessel, the Federal Ministry of Transport shall cause to be carried out on the vessel, a survey and tonnage measurement.

(2) The survey and tonnage report carried out pursuant to paragraph (1) of this sub- paragraph shall be forwarded to the Ministry.

5. Licence

(1) As from the commencement of these Regulations, no person shall navigate a fishing vessel for fishing purposes in Nigeria’s territorial waters unless such a vessel is duly registered and licensed for such purpose.

(2) A person, who navigates a fishing vessel for fishing or shrimping purposes in Ni- geria’s territorial waters without being so licensed, shall be guilty of an offence and liable to the penalties as prescribed under the Sea Fisheries Act.

[Cap. S4.]

(3) Where a person is convicted of an offence under this paragraph, the court by which he is convicted may, in addition to the punishment prescribed under the Act, orde r for the forfeiture of the fish or shrimp catch on board the fishing vessel.

6. Issuance of licence

The Minister shall be responsible for the issuance in accordance with the provisions of these Regulations, of a licence authorising a vessel to carry on fishing or shrimping purposes in Nigeria’s territorial waters.

7. Application for licence

(1) An application for a licence to–

(a) trawl for fish or shrimp in Nigeria’s territorial waters or Nigeria’s exclusive economic zone; or

(b) navigate, for the purpose of discharging imported frozen fish in any Nigerian port; or

(c) navigate Nigerian or foreign waters for the purpose of processing or discharging wet fish caught from such waters in any Nigerian port,

shall be made in writing by the owner of the vessel to the licensing officer.

(2) Every such application shall state in the case of-

(a) an individual, the name, nationality and address of the applicant;

(b) a partnership, the name, nationality and address of each partner;

(c) a company or other body corporate, the name, nationality and registered address of the company in Nigeria and of its directors and be accompanied by a feasibility report on the proposed fishing venture together with a certified copy of the memorandum of association and articles of association or other document relating to the constitution of the body corporate.

(3) In addition to the requirements specified in subparagraph (2) of this paragraph, every such application shall be accompanied by a concise state as to the tonnage of the fishing vessel, year of construction, and horsepower.

8. Dimension of fishing vessel

No fishing vessel or shrimp trawler intended for fishing or trawling in Nigeria’s ter- ritorial waters shall exceed in the case of-

(a) a fishing vessel, 25.3 metres in dimension and 150 gross tonnage; and

(b) a shrimp trawler, 23.2 metres in dimension and 130 gross tonnage.

9. Form of application for renewal

Every application for the renewal of a licence shall be as in Forms A of the First schedule to these Regulations.

[Form A. Schedule.]

10. Issue of licence

Where an application for a fishing or shrimping licence is made to the licencing offi- cer in accordance with paragraph 6 of these Regulations and is accompanied by the pre-

scribed report, particulars, documents, information and such fees as may be required to be paid for such licence, the Minister, shall if he is satisfied that-

(a) the fishing vessel is constructed and equipped to such a standard, and dimen – sion as to be fit for the particular purpose intended;

(b) the applicant is-

(i) capable of complying with such conditions as may be imposed of at- tached to a licence;

(ii) in all respects a suitable person to be granted a licence,

issue to the applicant a licence on such conditions as he may impose or as may be at- tached thereto.

11. Validity of a licence

(1) Unless a licence is cancelled under paragraph 9 of these Regulations, a licence shall remain in force for such period as may be prescribed therein and may be renewed from time to time.

(2) The Minister, may on an application for the renewal of a licence vary the condi- tions attached to such licence including the fees chargeable for renewal of a licence or impose such additional conditions as he may deem appropriate.

12. Cancellation of licence

(1) Where the Minister has reasonable grounds for believing that-

(a) a fishing vessel can no longer be used for the purpose for which it was 111- tended; or

(b) the licencee has failed to comply with any condition stipulated under para- graph 10 of these Regulations, he may, after giving the licencee the opportu –

nity of being heard or making representation by notice in writing, require him before the date specified in the notice, to remedy to the satisfaction of the Minister, the defects specified in the notice.

13. Penalty

If any person, in furnishing any information for the purposes of these regulations, makes any false statement which he knows to be false in any material particular, that per- son shall be guilty of an offence under the Act and be liable to the penalties prescribed therein.

14. Exemption

The size restriction specified in these Regulations shall not apply to any existing Ni- geria inshore fishing fleet during its life span.

15. Interpretation

In these Regulations unless the context otherwise requires –

“Minister” means the Minister charged with responsibility for matters relating to fisheries and “Ministry” shall be construed accordingly.

16. Citation and revocation of S.1. 99 of 1971

(1) These Regulations may be cited as the Sea Fisheries (Licensing) Regulations.

(2) The Sea Fisheries (Licensing) Regulations 1971 are hereby revoked.

FIRST SCHEDULE

[Paragraph 9.]

Forms

FORM A

Application for issue or renewal of a licence

I/We …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. .

(Full name in block capitals)

hereby apply for a licence under section 3 of the Sea Fisheries Act in respect of the motor fishing boat the particulars and descriptions of which are hereinafter stated.

2. (Renewals only) Particulars of the applicant’s current licence are as follows –

No ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… .

Date of issue ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. .

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