HC Deb 12 March 1896 vol 38 cc751-2

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether the Secretary for Scotland has received a memorial from the Moray Firth Fisheries Association, complaining that the service of sea police has proved inefficient for the purpose of suppressing beam trawling in the Moray Firth, and recommending the employment of two or three fast steamers, similar in build to trawlers, manned partly by local fishermen acquainted with the fishing grounds, and under the direct control of the Fishery Board; whether he has given consideration to the facts and arguments adduced in support of this recommendation by a body representing a large number of practical fishermen; and, whether he will state what objections, if any, there are to the course proposed?

THE LORD ADVOCATE (Sir CHARLES PEARSON,) Edinburgh and St. Andrew's Universities

The Secretary for Scotland has received the memorial referred to, but he cannot admit that the service of the sea police in the Moray Firth has proved inefficient. Through the co-operation of the Admiralty, gunboats have assisted in the suppression of trawling, and the Secretary for Scotland does not consider that the advantages of the proposal suggested in the memorial would be commensurate with the heavy additional outlay it would involve. Various suggestions have been received both from the memorialists and from other sources, all of which will continue to receive careful attention.

MR. J. G. WEIR (Ross and Cromarty)

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether, having regard to the fact that illegal trawling is usually carried on with greater vigour on Sundays in the Moray Firth and around the Western Islands, and that the gunboats, to which the duty of protecting the line fishing industry is assigned, frequently remain in harbour on that day, arrangements will be made for these cruisers to exercise proper vigilance every day in the week?


Without admitting the assumptions of fact on which this Question is based, I may say that according to my information the attention of the Commanders of cruisers engaged in fishery superintendence has been specially directed to the fact that trawlers are addicted to Sunday fishing, and the Commander of H. M. S. Cockchafer has reported that, when the weather permits, he is at sea two Sundays out of three.


I beg to ask the Lord Advocate if he will furnish the names and addresses of the persons authorised to receive complaints of illegal trawling in the Moray Firth?


I shall be glad to furnish the hon. Member with the information he desires.