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Fishermen Claims Appeal Board announces appeal handling procedures

     The Fishermen Claims Appeal Board (FCAB) announced today (January 9) the procedures and arrangements for handling appeals for ex-gratia allowances (EGA) related to the trawling ban.

     In order to process the 854 appeals in a just, smooth, economical and expeditious manner, the FCAB has decided to conduct the hearings in stages. During the first stage, the FCAB will take the opportunity of hearings on 32 test cases to hear certain preliminary issues concerning general parameters as well as the formula for the apportionment of EGAs. During the next stage, the FCAB will hear all the remaining appeal cases. As far as inshore trawler owners are concerned, when all the eligibility decisions are known (i.e. when the number of eligible claimants is determined), the FCAB will require the inter-departmental working group (IWG) set up by the Government to work out the apportionment of EGAs for individual eligible claimants.

     For the purpose of hearing and determining an appeal, the relevant hearing session(s) will be presided over by one chairman and comprise not less than four members. This will allow flexibility for other chairmen and interested members to join the hearings on the test cases. It is expected that for the subsequent hearings on the remaining cases, a panel presided over by one chairman and comprising four members will be the norm.

     The FCAB secretariat has written to the appellants about the arrangements relating to the hearings.

     The ban on trawling in Hong Kong waters came into operation on December 31, 2012. Under a one-off assistance package approved by the Legislative Council Finance Committee on June 10, 2011, an EGA is payable to eligible trawler owners affected by the trawl ban. A one-off grant is also payable to each eligible local deckhand employed by the affected inshore trawler owners who voluntarily surrender their vessels under a buyout scheme offered by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department or dispose of their vessels through other means. The Government subsequently set up an IWG to handle matters relating to applications for such assistance filed by parties affected by the trawling ban.

     The FCAB was established in November 2012 by the Government to process appeals on the EGA and one-off grant. It comprises six non-official chairmen and 20 non-official members.

Ends/Thursday, January 9, 2014
Issued at HKT 15:23


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