HC Deb 16 March 1896 vol 38 cc995-6

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate, whether his attention has been drawn to a petition from the Moray Firth Fisheries Association, setting forth that the main causes of the failure to enforce respect for the bye-laws of the Fishery Board for Scotland are that the gunboats placed on the service have not had sufficient speed for the capture of offending trawlers; that the commanders of the gunboats have had little interest in the pursuit of trawlers, and that, in consequence, there has in general been a great lack of zeal in the work; that the class of vessels employed in the service have been too readily distinguishable at a distance, and have thus been unable to get near enough to the offenders for their capture; and, whether steps will be taken at an early date to render the protection of the line-fishermen more efficient?

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

The petition referred to has been received. I must not be taken as admitting the accuracy of any of the statements quoted from it; and, in particular, the statement as to lack of interest and zeal in the work has, so far as I can discover, no foundation. For the rest, I would refer to my answer given to the hon. Member for Banffshire on Thursday last.


I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether he is aware that the Scottish Fishery Board's cruiser New Vigilant, a second-hand yacht named the Violet, is reported by the Board as not strong enough, although she has been strengthened, to withstand the heavy seas sometimes encountered outside the Islands, and that she is therefore hardly equal to the task of discharging the police duties of the Board in all states of the weather; and, whether seeing that the New Vigilant is totally unfit to perform the duties of protecting the line fishermen from the ravages of trawlers around the Western Isles, and that she has been relegated to the calmer waters of the Firth of Clyde, will steps be taken to provide the Fishery Board with a faster and more powerful cruiser?


The Fishery Board have had no reason to complain of the unseaworthiness of the fishery cruiser Vigilant since she was strengthened, nor have they received any complaint of illegal trawling from the Western Isles for some time. When such complaints were received last autumn and winter a gunboat was specially detailed to investigate and report, and this arrangement appears for the present to be sufficient to meet the case.