HC Deb 07 June 1894 vol 25 cc565-6
SIR L. LYELL (Orkney and Shetland)

I beg to ask the Secretary for Scotland whether his attention has been called to the trawling that is now being carried on off the Island of Foula by a boat with number obliterated, and so near the coast that the features of the crew can be identified from the shore; whether it is true that the gunboats Niger and Active, now in the North on Revenue service, refuse to interfere, and thus it is fouud impossible to obtain the name of the boat or of its master in order that a prosecution may be instituted; and whether it is the case that he is powerless to maintain the law against trawling in inland waters, and has no right to call on the Admiralty to assist in procuring the identification and arrest of those who break the law?


I have obtained Reports from the Fishery Board which corroborate the statement of the hon. Member regarding the illegal trawling near Foula. It is not the case, however, that the gunboats refused to interfere. On the coutrary, H.M.S. Niger, in obedience to special orders from the Admiralty, steamed from Lerwick to Foula on Thursday last, and remained for a day in the neighbourhood of the island. As no trawler was discovered, the Niger returned on Saturday to her ordinary duties at Lerwick. H.M.S. Watchful is now in the Moray Firth, with a view to the enforcement of the law on that fishing ground.