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Fisheries Law of the People's Republic of China
Article 1. This Law is formulated for the purpose of enhancing the protection, increase, development and reasonable utilization of fishery resources, developing artificial cultivation, protecting fishery workers' lawful rights and interests and boosting fishery production, so as to meet the requirements of socialist construction and the needs of the people.
Article 2. All productive activities of fisheries, such as aquaculture and catching or harvesting of aquatic animals and plants in the inland waters, tidal flats and territorial waters of the People's Republic of China, or in other sea areas under the jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China, must be conducted in accordance with this Law.
Article 3. In fishery production, the state shall adopt a policy that calls for simultaneous development of aquaculture, fishing and processing, with special emphasis on aquaculture and with priority given to different pursuits in accordance with local conditions.
People's governments at various levels shall include fishery production in their economic development plans and take measures to enhance the overall planning and comprehensive utilization of water areas.
Article 4. The state shall encourage research in fishery science and technology and popularization of advanced technology in order to raise the level of the country's fishery science and technology.
Article 5. People's governments at various levels shall give moral encouragement or material awards to units and individuals who make outstanding contributions to the increase and protection of fishery resources, to development of fishery production, or to research in fishery science and technology.
Article 6. The department of fishery administration under the State Council shall be in charge of the administration of fisheries throughout the country. Departments of fishery administration under people's governments at or above the county level shall be in charge of fisheries in their respective areas. These departments shall be authorized to set up fishery superintendency agencies in important fishing areas and fishing ports.
Departments of fishery administration under people's governments at or above the county level and their fishery superintendency agencies may appoint fishery inspectors who will carry out assignments that those departments and agencies entrust to them.
Article 7. State superintendence of fisheries shall operate under the principle of unified leadership and decentralized administration.
Marine fishery shall be under the superintendence of departments of fishery administration under the people's governments of provinces, autonomous regions and centrally-administered municipalities contiguous to the sea, with the exception of those sea areas and fishing grounds with specially designated fishery resources that the State Council has put under direct administration of its fishery department and subordinate fishery superintendency agencies.
Fishery in rivers and lakes shall be subject to the superintendence of the departments of fishery administration under the relevant people's governments at or above the county level in accordance with administrative divisions. Fishery administration for water areas that straddle several administrative divisions shall be decided by the relevant people's governments at or above the county level through consultation or placed under departments of fishery administration of people's governments at the next higher level and their subordinate fishery superintendency agencies.
Article 8. Foreigners and foreign fishing vessels must obtain permission from the relevant department under the State Council before entering the territorial waters of the People's Republic of China to carry on fishery production or investigations of fishery resources, and must abide by this Law and other related laws and regulations of the People's Republic of China. If those persons and vessels belong to countries that have signed relevant accords or agreements with the People's Republic of China, their activities shall be conducted in accordance with those accords or agreements.
State fishery administration and fishing port superintendency agencies shall exercise administrative and supervisory authority over external relations pertaining to fisheries and fishing ports.
CHAPTER II AQUACULTURE
Article 9. The state shall encourage units under ownership by the whole people, units under collective ownership and individuals to make the best use of suitable water surfaces and tidal flats to develop aquaculture.
Article 10. In conformity with the overall arrangement made by the state for utilization of water areas, people's governments at and above the county level may assign state-owned water surfaces and tidal flats that have been designated for aquaculture to units under ownership by the whole people and units under collective ownership to develop aquaculture, and after examining their qualifications grant those units aquaculture licences to confirm their rights to the use of such water surfaces and tidal flats.
Water surfaces and tidal flats used by units under ownership by the whole people, water surfaces and tidal flats owned by collectives, and those owned by the whole people but used by units under collective ownership may all be contracted to collectives or individuals to develop aquaculture.
Ownership and rights to the use of water surfaces and tidal flats shall be protected by law and shall not be subject to encroachment by any units or individuals.
Article 11. If any units or individuals that use water surfaces and tidal flats owned by the whole people for aquaculture neglect them for 12 months without a proper reason, the agencies granting aquaculture licences shall order those units or individuals to develop and utilize them within a certain period of time and, if the order is not carried out within the time limit, their aquaculture licences may be revoked.
Article 12. Disputes over the ownership and rights to the use of water surfaces or tidal flats that arise between units under ownership by the whole people, between units under collective ownership or between units under ownership by the whole people and units under collective ownership shall be solved through consultation between the parties concerned. If no agreement is reached through consultation, the disputes shall be handled by a people's government at or above the county level. If a party refuses to accept the decision of the people's government, it may file a suit in a people's court within 30 days after receiving notification of the decision.
Before the disputes over ownership and rights to the use of certain water surfaces or tidal flats are solved, no party may disrupt fishery production in the disputed areas.
Article 13. Requisitioning of collectively owned water surfaces and tidal flats for state construction shall be conducted in accordance with the Regulations on Requisition of Land for State Construction.
When state-owned water surfaces and tidal flats that have been allotted to units under ownership by the whole people and units under collective ownership for aquaculture are requisitioned for state construction, the construction units shall give those units appropriate compensation.
CHAPTER III FISHING
Article 14. The state shall encourage and support the development of offshore and deep sea fisheries and make rational arrangement of fishing capacity for inland and inshore fisheries.
Article 15. Any unit or individual that wants to engage in offshore or deep sea fishing must obtain permission from the department of fishery administration under the State Council; the state shall give support or preferential treatment in the form of funds, materials and technology, and in matters of taxation.
Article 16. Any unit or individual that intends to engage in inland water or inshore fishing must first apply to departments of fishery administration for fishing licences. Licences for using large trawls and purse seines in marine fishing shall be granted upon approval by the department of fishery administration under the State Council.
Other fishing licences shall be granted upon approval by local people's governments at or above the county level, but the fishing licences for marine operations that have been issued must not allow uses of trawls and other fishing gear which exceed quotas set by the state. Concrete measures shall be worked out by the people's governments of provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central Government.
Fishing licences may not be sold, leased or transferred by other illegal means, and they may not be altered.
Article 17. Units and individuals engaging in inland water and inshore fisheries must conduct their operations in accordance with their licences concerning the types of operation, location, time limits and quantity of fishing gear, and they must also abide by the relevant regulations on protection of fishery resources.
Article 18. All fishing vessels that are built, rebuilt, purchased or imported must be examined and inspected by fishing vessel inspection agencies before they are launched for operation. Concrete administrative measures shall be formulated by the department of fishery administration under the State Council.
CHAPTER IV INCREASE AND PROTECTION OF FISHERY RESOURCES
Article 19. Departments of fishery administration under the people's governments at and above the county level shall work out overall plans and take measures to increase fishery resources in the fishery waters under their jurisdiction. These departments may collect fees from the units and individuals profited by the use of such waters and devote the money thus collected to the increase and protection of fishery resources. The procedures for collecting such fees shall be formulated by the department of fishery administration and the department of finance under the State Council, and must be approved by the State Council before going into effect.
Article 20. Use of explosives and poisons in fishing shall be prohibited. It shall not be permitted to fish in prohibited fishing areas and during closed seasons, to fish with gear and methods banned by the fishery authority or to use fishing nets with meshes smaller than the minimum prescribed sizes.
Departments of fishery administration under the people's governments at or above the county level shall designate species under special protection, prohibited fishing areas and closed seasons, fishing gear and methods that are to be banned or restricted and the minimum sizes for the mesh of nets, as well as other measures for the protection of fishery resources.
Article 21. Catching fry of aquatic animals of important economic value shall be prohibited. Catching fry of aquatic animals of important economic value or spawning aquatic animals under protection for artificial breeding or for other special purposes must be approved by the department of fishery administration under the State Council or by departments of fishery administration under the people's governments of provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central Government, and it must be conducted in the designated areas and times and strictly in accordance with the quotas assigned.
Measures shall be adopted to protect fry of aquatic animals when channeling or using water from water areas that specialize in producing such fry.
Article 22. When building sluices and dams which will have serious effects on fishery resources on the migration routes of fish, shrimp and crabs, the construction units must build fish passages or adopt other remedial measures.
Article 23. For water bodies that are used for fisheries and also serve the purposes of water storage and regulation and irrigation, the departments concerned shall fix the lowest water level required for fishery.
Article 24. It shall be forbidden to reclaim land from lakes. Without approval from a people's government at or above the county level, it shall not be allowed to enclose tidal flats for cultivation and no one shall be allowed to reclaim land from water areas that are used as major seedling producing centres and aquatic breeding grounds.
Article 25. To conduct underwater explosions, exploration and construction that may have serious effects on fishery resources, the construction units shall consult in advance with the department of fishery administration under the relevant people's government at or above the county level and take measures to prevent or minimize the damage to fishery resources. In cases any damages to fishery resources occur therefrom, the relevant people's government at or above the county level shall order the responsible party to pay compensation.
Article 26. In accordance with the Marine Environmental Protection Law and the Water Pollution Prevention Law, people's governments at all levels shall take measures to protect and improve the ecosystem of fishery waters, prevent pollution and investigate the responsibility of any unit or individual that pollutes the fishery waters.
Article 27. Protection shall be provided to rare aquatic animals whose capture is banned by the state. In case there is a special need to catch them, the matter shall be handled in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations.
CHAPTER V LEGAL LIABILITY
Article 28. Anyone who uses explosives or poisons in fishing, fishes in violation of the regulations on prohibited fishing areas and closed seasons, uses prohibited fishing gear and methods or catches rare aquatic animals under state protection without permission shall have his catch and unlawful income confiscated and be fined; in addition, his fishing gear may be confiscated and his fishing licence revoked. In serious cases, criminal responsibility of the individual or the persons of a unit who are directly responsible shall be investigated in accordance with Article 129 of the Criminal Law.
Article 29. Anyone who poaches on or seizes others' aquatic products, or damages others' aquaculture water bodies and facilities shall be ordered by the department of fishery administration or its subordinate fishery superintendency agencies to compensate for the damages and shall be concurrently fined. In serious cases or if the damages are great, criminal responsibility of the individual or the persons of a unit who are directly responsible shall be investigated in accordance with Articles 151 and 156 of the Criminal Law.
Article 30. Anyone who fishes without a fishing licence obtained in accordance with this Law shall have his catches and unlawful income confiscated and may be concurrently fined. In serious cases, his fishing gear may also be confiscated.
Article 31. Anyone who fishes in violation of the type of operation, location, time limit and amount of fishing gear stipulated in his licence, shall have his catches and unlawful income confiscated and a fine may be concurrently imposed. In serious cases, his fishing gear may also be confiscated and his fishing licence revoked.
Article 32. Anyone who trades in, leases or transfers fishing licences by other illegal means shall have his unlawful income confiscated and his fishing licence revoked, and may be concurrently fined.
Article 33. The administrative sanctions stipulated in this Law shall be decided by departments of fishery administration or their subordinate fishery superintendency agencies. Any party who refuses to accept the decision on an administrative sanction may file a suit in a people's court within 30 days after receiving notification of the decision. If the party neither files a suit nor complies with the decision within the time limit, the agency that made the decision shall request the people's court to compel execution of the decision. However, a party which is engaged in maritime operations must comply with the sanction before filing a suit.
Article 34. The department of fishery administration under the State Council shall, in accordance with this Law, formulate rules for its implementation, which shall go into effect after being submitted to and approved by the State Council.
The standing committees of people's congresses of provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central Government may formulate measures of implementation in accordance with this Law and the rules for its implementation.
Article 35. This Law shall come into force as of July 1, 1986.