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Booker Aquacultur Ltd. and Hydro Seafood GSP Ltd. v. The Scottish Ministers, (C-20/00 and C-64/00), July 10, 2003

Facts: Two fish farms in Scotland were affected by Directive 93/53 and regulations of the U.K. implementing it. Both farms were required, under ministerial orders, to destroy fish that had not reached commercial size and to market prematurely, after their evisceration, fish that had reached that size. The plaintiffs sought compensation from the Scottish public authorities for the losses suffered. Those claims were rejected. They brought legal proceedings against the public authorities.

Issue: whether, in the absence of compensation for affected farmers, Directive 93/53 is compatible with the fundamental right to property.

Holding: The European Court of Justice found that there is no automatic compensation for fish farmers who are required by Community law to destroy their stocks which are infected by a contagious disease

Reasoning: The Community directive, and the national measures implementing it, which do not provide for compensation for the owners of the infected fish, do not infringe the right to property if they correspond to objectives of general interest pursued by the Community and do not constitute a disproportionate and intolerable interference impairing the very substance of that right.

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