HC Deb 16 May 1962 vol 659 cc1325-6
23. Mr. Hayman

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty if he is satisfied that his fishery protection vessels are adequate for all the tasks they are called on to perform; and if he will make a statement.

The Civil Lord of the Admiralty (Mr. C. Ian Orr-Ewing)

Yes, Sir. The Fishery Protection Squadron consists of four frigates and six minesweepers. Their duties range from the enforcement of national and international fishery regulations in home waters to helping our fishermen in the traditional distant-water grounds. The ships of the squadron are also fully trained for their primary duties as warships.

There has been an increase recently in the number of arrests of foreign poachers in British territorial waters, and there should be a further increase if local reporting of illegal fishing improves.

Mr. Hayman

Will the hon. Gentle-consult the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food about the incident off Lundy Island when a Cornish fishing boat was fired on from the island so that, although the incident is not likely to be repeated there, such an incident will not be repeated elsewhere?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

Yes, I will certainly consult my right hon. Friend, but it is not a matter for the Fishery Protection Squadron. I think that irregular use of fire arms is a matter for the police. No doubt the hon. Gentleman's Question will draw the chief constable's attention to this matter.

Mr. Prior

Is my hon. Friend aware that the fishing industry as a whole is very grateful for the wonderful work of the Fishery Protection Squadron?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

I am grateful for that tribute. The squadron operates much of the time in very unpleasant conditions. The fact that last year it arrested fifteen as opposed to nine foreign poachers shows that the squadron's work is reasonably satisfactory.