The new framework legislation is the European Union (Birds and Natural Habitats) (Sea-Fisheries) Regulations 2013 (S.I. 290 of 2013). These regulations have been drafted to implement the responsibilities of the Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine in relation to sea fisheries in Natura 2000 sites, in accordance with the Habitats and Birds Directives as transposed by the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 (S.I. 477 of 2011).
A brief summary of S.I. 290 of 2013 is as follows:
- Regulation 3 provides for the submission of a Fisheries Natura Plan in relation to planned fisheries
- Regulation 4 provides for a screening of a Fisheries Natura Plan to determine whether or not an appropriate assessment is required
- Regulation 5 provides for an appropriate assessment of a Fisheries Natura Plan and also provides for public and statutory consultation
- Regulation 6 provides for the Minister to make a determination to adopt a Fisheries Natura Plan. The Minister may amend, withdraw or revoke a plan
- Regulation 7 provides for publication of the adopted Fisheries Natura Plan.
- Regulation 8 provides for a Risk Assessment of unplanned fisheries and also provides for public and statutory consultation on the assessment.
- Regulation 9 provides for the issue of a Natura Declaration to prohibit, restrict including restricting by permit, control, etc. of sea fishing activities
- Regulation 10 provides for Natura Permits to be issued where required by Natura Declarations
- Regulations 11 to 31 deal with functions of authorised officers and related matters, offences, etc
Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora, states:
"The preservation, protection and improvement of the quality of the environment, including the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora, are an essential objective of general interest pursued by the Community."
1. The aim of this Directive shall be to contribute towards ensuring bio-diversity through the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora in the European territory of the Member States to which the Treaty applies.
2. Measures taken pursuant to this Directive shall be designed to maintain or restore, at favourable conservation status, natural habitats and species of wild fauna and flora of Community interest.
3. Measures taken pursuant to this Directive shall take account of economic, social and cultural requirements and regional and local characteristics. Conservation of natural habitats and habitats of species.
1. A coherent European ecological network of special areas of conservation shall be set up under the title Natura 2000. This network, composed of sites hosting the natural habitat types listed in Annex I and habitats of the species listed in Annex II, shall enable the natural habitat types and the species' habitats concerned to be maintained or, where appropriate, restored at a favourable conservation status in their natural range.
The Natura 2000 network shall include the special protection areas classified by the Member States pursuant to Directive 79/409/EEC.
2. Each Member State shall contribute to the creation of Natura 2000 in proportion to the representation within its territory of the natural habitat types and the habitats of species referred to in paragraph 1. To that effect each Member State shall designate, in accordance with Article 4, sites as special areas of conservation taking account of the objectives set out in paragraph 1.
3. Where they consider it necessary, Member States shall endeavour to improve the ecological coherence of Natura 2000 by maintaining, and where appropriate developing, features of the landscape which are of major importance for wild fauna and flora, as referred to in Article 10.