§ MR. D. N. NICOL (Argyll)
I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether the Secretary of State for Scotland has been able to make definite arrangements for the protection of line fishermen from the depredations of beam trawlers on the coast of Scotland?
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. GRAHAM MURRAY,) Buteshire
I am now able to inform my hon. Friend that the matter has been under the consideration of the Government, and that it has been decided to make additional provision for this service.
§ MR. J. G. WEIR (Ross and Cromarty)
I beg to ask the Lord Advocate (1) whether the negotiations which have been in progress during the last few months between the Scottish Office and other Departments in regard to the question of a more effective sea police around the coast of Scotland are not sufficiently advanced to enable Her 676 Majesty's Government to announce the policy which it proposes to adopt in order to protect the interests of line fishermen against the depredations of trawlers: (2) whether, having regard to the fact that the Secretary for Scotland has recommended that line fishermen should assist the Government in bringing to justice persons engaged in illegal trawling, he is aware that a fine of 5s. was imposed on each of the crew of the steam trawler Amy Gertrude, of North Shields, for assault, and that when detected in illegal trawling in Lochbattle, Skye, on the 31st October last, by the fishing boat Janet, of Block ton, they assaulted the fishing boat's crew with stones and an iron bar, and attempted to run her down; and (3) whether he is aware that the trawler's number was concealed, and that this offence was not punished by the Court?
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
To the first part of the hon. Member's question I have already replied. As regards the second, a fine of 5s. for assault was imposed on each of the crew of the trawler referred to. On consideration of the precognitions, it appeared to the prosecutor that the evidence was insufficient to prove concealment of the number; and this charge accordingly was not made.
§ MR. WEIR
I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether, in view of the fact that Her Majesty's Government have requested the assistance of the line fishermen of Scotland to catch and identify persons engaged in illegal trawling, it is proposed to reward the master and crew of the fishing boat Janet, of Plockton, Ross-shire, who, at the imminent risk of their lives, were recently instrumental in obtaining a conviction against the master and crew of the steam trawler Amy Gertrude, of North Shields, for illegal trawling in Lochbattle, Skye, on the 31st October last?
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
As the hon. Member is aware it is not the practice to offer pecuniary rewards to such members of the public as assist to bring delinquents to justice, and there are no special reasons to make an exception in the present case.