LC Paper No. LS11/98-99
Paper for the House Committee Meeting
Objects of the Bill
of the Legislative Council
on 24 July 1998
Legal Service Division Report on
Fisheries Protection (Amendment) Bill 1998
To amend the Fisheries Protection Ordinance (Cap. 171) ("the Ordinance") to :-
LegCo Brief Reference
- expand the regulation making power of the Chief Executive in Council to prohibit or restrict the use for the purpose of fishing of apparatus of a class or description specified by the Director of Agriculture and Fisheries in the Gazette;
- increase the maximum fine that may be imposed for an offence under the regulation from HK$10,000 to HK$200,000; and
- confer power on the Director to amend the Schedule to the Ordinance.
2. ECON No. 2755/45(88)II issued by the Economic Services Bureau on 8 July 1998.
Date of First Reading
3. 22 July 1998
4. The Bill proposes to give the Chief Executive in Council the power to make regulations for prohibition or restriction of the use, for the purpose of fishing, of any apparatus of a class or description to be specified by the Director of Agriculture and Fisheries ("the Director"). The upper limit of fines that may be imposed in the regulations would be increased to HK$200,000. The Director would also be authorised to amend the Schedule to the Ordinance which specifies the list of toxic substances for the purposes of the Ordinance. Upon commencement of the amendments, the Fisheries Protection Regulation (Cap. 171 sub. leg.) will be amended by the Chief Executive to conform with the provisions of the Ordinance.
5. The amendments, if passed, will come into operation on a date to be appointed by the Secretary for Economic Services.
6. Members may refer to Paragraphs 2 to 7 of the LegCo Brief for the background to and the rationale for the introduction of this Bill.
7. Members may consider whether it is appropriate, as a matter of principle, for a government official at head of department level to be given the powers to specify prohibited apparatus(es) and to amend a Schedule of an Ordinance, each of which involves the imposition of criminal liabilities. Such powers in comparable provisions in other legislation of the HKSAR are usually delegated to the Chief Executive in Council or a Secretary.
8. Some clarifications on the drafting are being sought in the meantime from the Administration.
9. According to the LegCo Brief, 44 fishermen's associations, the concerned District Boards, the Capture Fisheries Sub-committee of the Advisory Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries, the Marine Parks Committee of the Country and Marine Parks Board, the Advisory Council on the Environment and seven green groups and professional associations have been consulted. All are either supportive of or having no objection to the proposed legislation.
Consultation with LegCo Panel
10. The Environmental Affairs Panel of the then Legislative Council was informed of the gist of the proposed amendments to the Ordinance during a meeting held on 3 December 1996. The then Chairman of the Panel urged the then Administration to introduce the amendments as soon as practicable.
11. The Bill does not contain any complicated provisions or address any controversial issue. Members may consider whether to form a Bills Committee to consider the policy and practical aspects of the proposals in the Bill.
Assistant Legal Adviser
Legislative Council Secretariat
23 July 1998