§ MR. BLACK (Banffshire)
I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether his attention has been called to the case of a foreign trawler, convicted a few weeks ago of trawling within the three-mile limit near Burghead in the Moray Firth; whether he is aware that the fine of £50 imposed in that case was less than the value of the trawler's catch, and thus afforded no practical deterrent against a repetition of the offence; whether the Government have considered as to an increase of the maximum fine of £100 and forfeiture of nets at present exigible; and whether it is the intention of the Government to introduce a measure for the better enforcement of the restrictions against trawling within forbidden areas.
* MR. A. GRAHAM MURRAY
The Fishery Board have no official information as to the value of the catch in question, but they cannot assume that the judge who had the whole circumstances before him and imposed a penalty short of the maximum, did not keep in view the adequacy of the penalty as a deterrent to a repetition of the offence. The Government have not at present under consideration any increase of the maximum penalties. As regards further measures it is not clear what class of measure the hon. Member suggests. But it is to be observed that while up to 1898 the Fishery Board had only one cruiser at their disposal they have now three, and will shortly have four.