HC Deb 15 July 1952 vol 503 cc1957-8
13. Mr. Duthie

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will make a statement on the incident involving a foreign trawler and the Cullen seine net fishing vessel "Addisons" in the Firth of Clyde on Friday, 4th July.

Mr. Henderson Stewart

I am informed that while the "Addisons" was fishing 11 miles W.S.W. of Ailsa Craig on 4th July a foreign trawler approached her notwithstanding warning signals and the skipper had to haul his gear in order to avoid damage. The "Addisons" closed the trawler to explain the need for keeping clear of her gear, and the trawler skipper is stated to have been abusive.

Mr. Peter Freeman

What did he say?

Mr. Stewart

On receipt of a radio call the Fishery Cruiser "Freya" left Campbeltown, but before she reached the area the trawler had gone. The patrol of the area by the fishery cruisers has been intensified.

Mr. Duthie

Is my hon. Friend aware that this molestation and abuse of our own vessels in our own territorial waters by foreign trawlers is on the increase? Will he ensure that the strongest representations are made to the Governments concerned with a request that their nationals shall behave in a satisfactory way when fishing in our territorial waters? Is he further aware that the real solution of this problem is the total exclusion of these foreign trawlers from our own territorial waters?

Mr. Stewart

Yes, Sir; I am aware of that. The hon. Member will, of course, know that the skipper of the "Addisons" did not identify the trawler which, however, was reported to be French, and that the trawler was working outside the exclusive fishery limits, and as no damage was reported it is difficult to find any grounds for definite action.

Mr. Duthie

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that it is a common practice for foreign trawlers to obscure their numbers so that there is no risk of detection?

Lieut.-Colonel Elliot

Could my hon. Friend confirm or deny the statement that the abuse consisted of the statement, "You English are no good for anything except to win wars; we are here to catch fish," thereby hurling a double insult?