§ MR. J. E. GORDON (Elgin and Nairn)
I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether the Naval Police have recently reported the presence of Danish trawlers in the protected waters of the Moray Firth; and what steps the Government propose to take in order to uphold the Law and preserve the intention of Parliament?
§ CAPTAIN PIRIE (Aberdeen, N.)
I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that a Danish trawler has been constantly fishing for the last few weeks in the Moray Firth; and whether, having regard to the strong feelings aroused amongst those interested, owing to a foreign trawler being able to fish in waters from which British trawlers are excluded, the Government propose to take any steps to prevent the continuance of such a system in the future?
§ SIR WILLIAM WEDDERBURN (Banffshire)
I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that a Danish trawler, Dania, has been seen by H.M.S. Jackal trawling in the Moray Firth within forbidden limits, and that she is about to land her catch at Aberdeen; whether the Government have power to prevent the landing of fish thus caught; and what progress has been made in the negotiations for the revision of the North Sea Convention, so that such trawling may in future be prevented?
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. GRAHAM MURRAY, Buteshire)
I will answer the Questions of the hon. Members for the North Division of Aberdeen, Banffshire, and Elgin and Nairn together. On the 28th ultimo the Fishery Board received a report from the Commander of H.M.S. Jackal to the effect "that the Danish trawler E. 46 Dania was this forenoon discovered seven miles E.N.E. off Tarbetness with her port otter trawl down." In consequence of this and other 204 reports, the Secretary for Scotland has given instructions to the Fishery Board to prevent, under the powers of Section 8 of the Herring Fishery (Scotland) Act of 1889, the landing or sale in Scotland of fish from the Dania caught within the area prohibited by their bye-laws. As regards the negotiations for the revision of the North Sea Convention referred to by the hon. Member for Banffshire, I have nothing to add to what has already been stated in this House by the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and myself.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
asked whether there was any power of prohibiting foreign vessels from fishing outside the territorial waters?
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
said there was no power of preventing fishing, but if the hon. Member would refer to the section of the Act to which he had referred he would see that there were certain powers to prevent the landing of fish so caught in Scotland.
§ CAPTAIN PIRIE
asked whether the right hon. Gentleman was aware that the Dania was proceeding to Hull, and whether there were any powers to prevent the landing of such fish there?
§ The LORD ADVOCATE
said the Act to which he referred related only to Scotland. He knew nothing more about the movements of the Dania than what he had stated.