HC Deb 11 December 1963 vol 686 cc390-1
22. Mr. Wall

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty what steps he proposes to take to reinforce the Fishery Protection Squadron.

Mr. Hay

There is no evidence that the squadron is inadequate for its task but if circumstances indicate otherwise the position will be urgently reviewed.

Mr. Wall

Of course we appreciate the excellent work done by the squadron, but is it not the case that during last summer well over 200 foreign trawlers were fishing off the Yorkshire coast at a time when the fishery protection vessel was off station for a refit? Will my hon. Friend consider extending the cover by the squadron by the use of helicopters and fast patrol vessels?

Mr. Hay

All these matters are constantly under review. We are pretty widely extended at the moment but I will take account of what my hon. Friend says.

Mr. Hector Hughes

What is the present strength of the squadron in comparison with foreign fishery protection squadrons which have recently been so active in the Scottish fishing grounds?

Mr. Hay

Our squadron consists of four frigates, four coastal minesweepers and two inshore minesweepers, and, from time to time, two fast patrol boats are deployed. I cannot answer the latter part of the hon. and learned Member's supplementary question because I am not sure to which other squadrons he is referring.