§ MR. G. DOUGHTY (Great Grimsby)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, whether he is aware that, on 3rd May last, the Danish gunboat off the coast of Iceland captured the steam trawler Caspian while navigating in the ordinary course to the fishing grounds, and that the vessel and crew were taken into Vestmannaeyar Isles 716 and fined 200 kroners; whether he has been informed that Captain McGregor, the master of the steam trawler, went on board the gunboat and made a statement to the officer in charge, namely, that he was proceeding in the ordinary course to Faxafiord, 90 miles further, that his gear had not been disturbed since he had left port, and that he had no intention of fishing until he reached Faxafiord; that the officer replied that he had received orders from the Danish Government that steam trawlers with their gear on board were not to be allowed within the three mile limit, neither from stress of weather nor in the ordinary course of navigation; and that several other steam trawlers have been intercepted; whether any communication has been received from the Danish Government respecting the Law prohibiting trawlers trawling in Icelandic waters since Earl Kimberley's statement on 31st May 1895; and, if so, whether such correspondence can be published; and, whether, in view of the danger to British fishermen involved in the new interpretation of the Icelandic Law, Her Majesty's Government will again open negotiations with the Government of Denmark with the view of removing the clauses in the new Act, and of securing for British trawlers when navigating the same rights and privileges enjoyed by foreign vessels in British waters?
* MR. CURZON
The statements contained in the first two paragraphs are confirmed by the reports which have reached Her Majesty's Government. In March 1895 a representation was made by Her Majesty's Minister at Copenhagen to the Danish Government as to the probable operation of the law which had recently been passed by the Icelandic Parliament and the matter is still under the consideration of the Danish Government. With regard to the Caspian Her Majesty's Chargé d'Affaires was instructed on the 2nd instant to apply to the Danish Government for full and exact particulars of this and of another similar case.