HC Deb 14 July 1971 vol 821 cc478-9
16. Mr. Gray

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many prosecutions resulted from detection and interception of vessels fishing illegally by fishery protection cruisers in each of the years 1968, 1969 and 1970.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

The numbers of detections made by my right hon. Friend's fishery cruisers of vessels fishing illegally in Scottish waters during the years 1968, 1969 and 1970 which resulted in prosecutions were 41, 34 and 41 respectively.

Mr. Gray

My hon. Friend will be aware that these figures reveal that the problem is merely being touched, that we are only getting at the fringe of it. Will he give an assurance that the whole method and the type of craft being used will be examined by his Department? Has further consideration been given to the possible increase in illegal fishing should we become a member of the E.E.C.?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I would remind my hon. Friend that one does not necessarily measure the effectiveness of one's policing methods in this or any other area by the number of detections. The existence of a fishery cruiser fleet has an enormous deterrent effect.

Mr. Ronald King Murray

Will not the hon. Gentleman agree that a more effective deterrent than mere prosecution is successful prosecution? Can he say what proportion of prosecutions reached a conviction?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I appreciate the hon. and learned Gentleman's interest in this subject. I could not answer his question offhand, but if he will put it on the Order Paper, I shall be delighted to answer it.