HC Deb 26 August 1887 vol 320 cc21-2

asked the Secretary to the Board of Trade, Whether any and, if so, what progress has been made in carrying out the recommendations of the Committee appointed by the Board of Trade in December last, with the view of putting a stop to outrages by Belgian on English fishing vessels; and, whether the Board of Trade Fishery Department have brought pressure to bear on the Admiralty Authorities to establish a much more efficient system of protection than has been the case in the past for English drift-net fishing vessels within the limits of the North Sea Fisheries Convention, and also for the protection of English trawling fleets within the same area, with the view of guarding against a repetition of last season's losses and cases similar to the capture of the Grimsby smack Lady Godiva the German coast?

THE SECRETARY (Baron HENRY DE WORMS) Liverpool, East Toxteth)

The Report of the Committee appointed by the Board of Trade to inquire into the complaints of damage alleged to have been inflicted on British drift-net fisheries in the North Sea was at once communicated to Her Majesty's Representatives in the countries which were parties to the North Sea Convention of 1882, and the Belgian Government, which is the one chiefly concerned, at once appointed a Departmental Committee to consider the recommendations contained in the Report. The Fisheries Department of the Board of Trade have also been in communication with the Admiralty on those recommendations which relate to British cruisers, with the result that the force in the North Sea will be increased to five steamers and four sailing cruisers. This the Admiralty regard as sufficient to afford adequate protection to the fisheries. The rocket throwing one star is to be recognized as a signal of communication between fishing vessels and Her Majesty's cruisers, and the question of electric search lights is under consideration by the Admiralty. I may add that a placard, of a size convenient for mounting on cardboard, indicating the Regulations to which the crews of British fishing vessels are subject in the North Sea is being prepared for distribution amongst our vessels with a view to their carrying the same.