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Minister of the Environment Villu Reiljan replied to the interpellation (No. 150) concerning fishing quotas, submitted on 24 March by Members of the Riigikogu Tõnis Lukas, Helir-Valdor Seeder and Mart Nutt. The interpellation proceeded from the concern of Hiiumaa fishermen. The interpellators wanted to know how was it possible that the fishing quotas allocated by the state had moved on from the fishermen to whom they had actually been allocated.

Minister of the Environment said that in dividing the quotas one had to ensure that the proportion of fishing possibilities legally acquired by every applicant during the previous three years remains the same in relation to the fishing opportunities of other applicants legally acquired during the same period. Ensuring of such mutual relations between the applicants on the basis of fishing opportunities acquired legally during the previous three years is also called sometimes the historical fishing right.

Mr. Reiljan stated that pursuant to the Fishing Act, the fishing opportunities were considered legally acquired if they had been entered in permits and the fees for the right to fish had been paid for it or the had fishing permit had been collected if the payment of the fee for the right to fish was not required. Subsection 16 (3) of the Fishing Act says also that upon calculation of the historical fishing right, the right to fish acquired pursuant to subsection 16 (6) of the Act must be taken into consideration. ?Subsection 16 (6) of the Act includes the notorious provision which says that the historical fishing right, mentioned in subsection 16 (3) of the Act, may be transferred to a person, to whom the fishing permit may be given,? Minister of the Environment explained.

The transfer transaction must be notarised. The transfer transaction must set out the extent of the right to fish, its base and the time of transfer of the fishing rights. The transfer of fishing rights enters into force as of the date on which a copy of the transfer transaction is transferred to the issuer of the fishing permit, unless the transaction provides for a later date. Thus the provision includes the obligation to immediately start to carry out the notarial contract concluded between the two persons concerning the transfer of the right to fish or , in other words, start fishing.

Mr. Reiljan paid attention to the fact that all enterprises who, pursuant to the legislation valid in Estonia, were located here, had the right to submit applications for commercial fishing. All these enterprises who have submitted the applications for commercial fishing by the term mentioned in the Act and which was 1 December of the previous year and who have met the criteria necessary for giving the permits of commercial fishing, have the right to get the permits. The permits have to be issued to them who, pursuant to the Act, have legally acquired fishing opportunities and the issuer of permits must proceed from this.

Minister of the Environment reminded that the above provision that allows the enterprises to transfer their fishing possibilities, making the fishing opportunities which, pursuant to the Act, belong to a person, essentially his/her ownership, was included in the Fishing Act according to the amendments passed by the Riigikogu on 8 February 2001.

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The Government of the Republic, as the initiator, withdrew four Bills, and the Estonian Centre Party Faction, as the initiator, two Bills from the legislative proceeding.


The Riigikogu Press Service