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Horta ,  November 11, 2019

Regional Government submitted to Legislative Assembly proposals for legislation on fisheries, public water domain and use of natural resources for scientific purposes

The Regional Government has submitted to the Parliament three proposals for Regional Legislative Decree, namely a new legal framework for fisheries, the definition of the public water domain boundaries and the regulation on the use of natural resources of the Azores for scientific purposes.
In the area of fisheries, the Government proposes the adoption of an action plan that, among other measures, imposes rules focusing on Portugal's inspection activities aimed at strengthening the control system. It includes the application of the penalty points system to the skippers and owners of fishing vessels who commit serious infringements under the Common Fisheries Policy.
This measure, following decision taken by the European Commission in 2014, aims to protect the fish stocks of the Azores Sea, ensuring the sustainability of fisheries in coming decades.
In practice, as determined by the European Commission, the infringements committed in the Azores will be accounted in the national whole. Should it be found that Portugal as a whole is infringing the Common Fisheries Policy, the Commission may suspend the interim payments, fully or partially, under the operational programme.
Under the public water domain, the Regional Government wants to streamline procedures so that an individual can prove private ownership of a property without resorting to legal action.
The public water domain encompasses water resources such as water, stream beds and banks, adjacent areas, maximum infiltration zones and protected areas, based on a special protection scheme that considers them inalienable, exempt from seizure and indispensable.
The public water domain concerns public waters and comprises the maritime public domain (MPD), the lake and river public domain and the public domain of the remaining waters (existing water sources and groundwater in public land or property and rainwater running on them, among others).
With this new proposal, the process for the definition of public water domain boundaries is no longer required by the Government in cases when the land is located near the crest of cliffs, when the land and the bank are separated by a regional or municipal road or when the land is located within a consolidated urban area.
In such cases, the owners of the land will no longer have to seek legal action for the acknowledgement of their private property rights over the properties concerned.
Furthermore, the Regional Government intends to amend the legal scheme, in force since 2012, regulating the access and use of the Region's natural resources for scientific purposes.
In this regard, it considers that scientific research activities based on the natural resources of the Azores should contribute to an in-depth scientific knowledge on them as well as on their formation processes, components and potentialities, ensuring a fair and equitable sharing of the benefits that may arise therefrom.
With this new proposal, the legislation in force will become compatible with the Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council establishing the rules on the access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing, according to the Nagoya Protocol on Biological Diversity.
The Internationally Recognised Certificate of Conformity (CCIR) for the use of natural resources for scientific purposes is established, providing for the terms of access and use of natural resource samples.
The issuance of the CCIR will depend on a mandatory prior favourable binding opinion of the Regional Government and licensing or authorisation, when required by specific legislation, depending on the type and or location of the resource.
After 30 days of public consultation, these three legal documents will now be analysed, debated and voted by the Legislative Assembly.


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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