§ COLONEL BARNE
asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether he will inform the House as to the state of the negotiations with France, Holland, and Belgium, as regards the depredations committed on English fishermen by the use of the Belgian Devil?
§ SIR CHARLES W. DILKE
Sir, the French and Dutch Governments have already agreed to a Conference on the subject being held, but no reply has as yet been received from the Belgian Government. Negotiations on the subject are still proceeding, and it is hoped their result will be satisfactory.
§ MR. BIRKBECK
asked the Secretary to the Admiralty, Whether his attention has been called to a paragraph in the "Times" of last Saturday, relating to depredations by Dutch on Scotch fishermen off the Shetlands; and, whether, taking into conderation the constant increasing number of outrages by Foreign on English fishermen on the North and East Coasts, and especially alluded to in Mr. W. H. Higgins' Report presented this Session, he will take the necessary steps to keep a larger number of sailing cruisers on the fishing grounds than hitherto, until Her Majesty's Government are able to conclude Conventions with the Belgian, Dutch, and French Governments?
§ MR. TREVELYAN
Sir, His Royal Highness the Admiral Superintendent of Naval Reserves is requested to call for a Report respecting the alleged depredations by Dutch fishermen off the Shetlands, and especially whether such depredations occurred within or without the territorial three-mile limit. Outside that limit it is very difficult to say that a cruiser is any practical protection to the fishermen. I had on my desk only to-day the story of complications arising out of a complaint from the French Government about a revenue cruiser of ours which bad boarded a French fishing vessel in the open sea off Lowestoft. Anything, however, which can be done for the Shetland fishermen, especially at a time when they have been visited by such a terrible disaster as has be- 1900 fallen them in the late gale, shall be done.
§ MR. TREVELYAN
, in reply, said, the Admiralty would be quite willing to make inquiries; but he was bound to say that cruisers were of very little value beyond the territorial limit. An inquiry had already been set on foot.