HC Deb 15 May 1907 vol 174 cc968-9

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that steam trawlers have lately been fishing inside the legal limits off the coast of Ballinskelligs and Valentia, county Kerry, notably on the 5th instant; can he state what were the last two occasions on which the "Helga" visited this district; whether, in view of the difficulty of judging from the shore the exact position of the present legal limits, he will represent to the proper authority the necessity of compelling the trawlers to fish outside the Skelligs Rock; and whether, seeing that it is impossible for one boat, such as the "Helga" with its slow speed, to patrol the entire West Coast of Ireland effectively, he will represent to the Admiralty the advisability of detaching a cruiser or torpedo boats to assist the "Helga" in her work.


Steam trawling is prohibited in Ballinskelligs Bay. The Department of Agriculture recently learnt that three vessels had been observed there, and at once despatched their steam cruiser to the locality. The vessel had last been in the district from 31st January to 9th February and from the 17th to the 27th March. The Department's arrangements provide for keeping the locality under constant observation. The Admiralty do not enforce by-laws which prohibit steam trawling, but they protect Irish territorial waters from foreign vessels. The enforcement of the bylaws relating to steam trawling rests with the Department, and they hold that the steps hitherto taken with that object have been reasonably sufficient, as is shown by the great decrease in illegal trawling which has taken place.

MR. CATHCART WASON (Orkney and Shetland)

If there is power of prosecution will the right hon. Gentleman consider the advisability of offering rewards to local fishermen for information calculated to secure the conviction of the offenders?


I will consider that.