HC Deb 02 February 1897 vol 45 cc1056-7

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, (1) whether his attention has been called to the circumstance that English steam trawlers have been habitually fishing within the prescribed limits on the coast of the county Down; that some weeks ago three of them were arrested by the coastguard off St. John's Point, prosecuted, and fined the maximum penalty at the Castlewellan Petty Sessions, an amount for which one night's fishing amply recoups them; that the coastguard, though successful in this instance, can rarely catch the offenders, who are able to steam away from their sailing or rowing boats; and (2) whether under these circumstances, he will appeal to the Admiralty to assist in preventing the destruction of the spawning grounds and the ruin of the fishery; or, if that department is unwilling to undertake that duty, he will consider the propriety of organising a water police supplied with steam launches to protect this very important Irish industry?


The facts are substantially as stated in the first paragraph, though I am unable to ascertain what was the value of one night's fishing. On many occasions the coastguard could not come up with the steam trawlers. The question of providing a gunboat for the purpose of preventing illegal fishing by the steam trawlers, and of protecting the fisheries is now under the consideration of Government.