HC Deb 23 June 1971 vol 819 cc1422-3
38. Mr. Wolrige-Gordon

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimate he has formed of the number of fishery protection vessels he will need in the light of the United Kingdom's proposals made to the European Economic Community about fishing limits; and the most effective kind of vessels for this work.

Mr. Gordon Campbell

It would be premature to make any detailed estimate at this stage. In considering the future of my Department's protection service in the light of the Cameron Report, I shall of course take into account the situation as regards entry to the Community.

Mr. Wolrige-Gordon

Is my right hon. Friend aware that these proposals, as we have them at present in Brussels, will certainly have the effect of very much increasing the pressure from foreign shipping on our fishermen prosecuting their livelihood within whatever limit is finally arranged? Until now there has been a certain buffer, which is in danger of disappearing. Therefore, we shall definitely have to consider increased forms of fishery protection if we are to go ahead.

Mr. Campbell

We must await the report of my right hon. and learned Friend on his talks in Luxembourg. I should point out that in recent years the fishery protection vessels of the Royal Navy, in co-operation with the Scottish Office vessels, have had to police the belt between six and 12 miles because of the fishing rights which various European countries have had in that belt.

Mr. Donald Stewart

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that if, as appears to be the case, the six to 12-mile band has been conceded—sold out—by our negotiator in Brussels, it will more than ever be necessary to have fishery protection vessels in view of the threats of open warfare if these areas are entered by fishing trawlers from the Community?

Mr. Campbell

Whatever the result of the negotiations—I cannot prejudge what they will be—the need to police the belt from six to 12 miles will in future be as great as, if not greater than, at present. I entirely understand the hon. Gentleman's point.