< > LUK26 - Statute Prerogative Regis, 17 Edward II (AD 1324)

General Information

The information provided within these pages provides a background to the legislation issues.

Date 1324
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Text Availability (e.g. HMSO / Copyright / Public Domain etc.)
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Brief Overview / Significance
  • Statute Prerogative Regis, 17 Edward II (AD 1324) states that although the Crown has sovereign dominion over the sea around the British Isles, it has no general property in the fish and marine mammals in it except for cetaceans and sturgeon. These are ‘Royal Fish’ and belong to the Crown. An exception to this is if they become stranded or their bodies are washed ashore within the limits of a Manor, such as the Duchy of Cornwall, in which case title passes to the Lord of the Manor. The chief requirement of the Royal Prerogative nowadays is that stranded ‘Royal Fish’ are reported to the Receiver of Wreck who will then pass the information to the Natural History Museum, London and other relevant bodies. The Receiver of Wreck can be contacted via the local coastguard.
  • In Scotland, "northern bottlenose whales", "long-finned pilot whales" and "cetaceans less than 7.5 metres (25 feet) long" are not classed as ‘Royal Fish’.
  • In consultation with the Receiver of Wreck, local authorities may deal with the collection and disposal of carcasses of ‘Royal Fish’.
  • For beached cetaceans within the limits of a Manor (e.g. the Duchy of Cornwall), title passes to the Lord of the Manor.
  • In 1990 the UK government instigated a project to co-ordinate the reporting, recording, post-mortem examination and tissue sampling of marine mammals stranded and incidentally caught in England and Wales. This was extended to cover Scotland in 1992. The co-ordinator for these projects should be contacted in the event of an animal stranding. The Natural History Museum, London has been recording strandings since 1911 and continues to receive reports through the Receiver of Wreck and Strandings Co-ordinators.
  • (D23)
NOTES - Amendments / Relation to other legislation

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Specific Section References

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