HC Deb 04 July 1907 vol 177 cc877-8

I beg to ask the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland) whether his attention has been called to the recent successful prosecution at Cahirciveen of a trawler for fishing within the prescribed limits; whether, in view of the increasing number of such offences, the Department will prosecute on information received from any person; and, if so, what portion of the fine levied will be given to the informant, and will the Department have notices to this effect posted in the principal fishery districts.


The vessel whose skipper was successfully prosecuted at Cahirciveen petty sessions was detected fishing illegally by the fishery cruiser "Helga" belonging to the Department. Several steam trawlers have been captured near the same place; and so far from the offence increasing, it has during the past two years greatly decreased. The Department are always prepared to act on definite information supplied by fishermen or others: and two convictions in Kerry were partly obtained on such evidence. Fines imposed in these cases must be lodged to the credit of the Department's Endowment Fund; but all expenses incurred, and full compensation for loss of time, would be given by the Department to persons who assisted in bringing offenders to justice. The offering of rewards for evidence, however, is open to objection. It is not always possible for fishermen to obtain the information neccessary to enable the Department successfully to institute legal proceedings, inasmuch as the person selected for prosecution is the man in charge of the vessel at the time when the illegality is committed, and the requisite particulars can usually only be obtained by boarding the ship, and no one has the right to stop and board a vessel at sea except a duly authorised officer.