Please see the link below to public notice published by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (“DFFE”) this morning. The attached notice effectively amends the conditions under which Exemption Holders are permitted to operate (“exemption conditions”), particularly as they relate to the transfers of shares / members interest in Exemption Holders. In summary the amendment to the exemption conditions effectively reiterate what was stated in the public notice published on 20 April 2021 and in fact have gone further and stated categorically that no shares / members interest may be transferred within exemption holders during the exemption period except under two very limited circumstances and subject to compliance with the Policy for the Transfer of Commercial Fishing Rights 2009:
- The conversion of CC’s to private companies but only where such conversion is not accompanied by a change in shareholding / members interest;
- The death of a member / shareholder and subsequent transfer of the deceased estate’s members interest / shareholding. A notification / section 21 application submitted pursuant to a transfer of shares / members interest from a deceased estate will however not be considered if submitted within 3 months of the due date for submission of long-term rights applications as part of the Fishing Rights Allocation Process 2021 (a date which has yet to be confirmed).
Unfortunately the attached notice still leaves critical questions unanswered particularly as they relate to the transfer of shares / members interest within entities that are both exemption holders and the holders of commercial fishing rights that have not yet expired. As such we would advise any entity currently operating under an exemption to contact us for advice before concluding any transaction relating to the transfer of shares / members during the period of validity of the said exemption.
If you have any questions or queries in relation to the above please don’t hesitate to contact us.