HC Deb 15 February 1973 vol 850 cc1417-8
Mr. Patrick McNair-Wilson

I beg to ask leave to present a petition. To the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled. The Humble Petition of the Fishermen of Lymington and Keyhaven and District, and Others Showeth: That since September 1st the urgent conservation of Britain's Inshore Fishing Grounds is causing grave concern to her Inshore Fishermen and People, when other nations because of feared scarcity of fish stocks are increasing their limits. They therefore require Her Majesty's Government to make conservation their first priority within the 12-mile Territorial Waters Limit along the South Coast, by approving to ban all Beam Trawling except by local Licence through local Sea Fisheries Committees to meet area needs, combined with a total band of the use of weighty chain nets, devastatingly destructive where sole and plaice are caught. With the present inadequate six old 15-knot Patrol Protection vessels for the whole of Britain's coast Her Majesty's Government has no means of enforcing future essential conservation of Britain's own fish supplies for the nation. British Fishermen therefore claim protection from Her Majesty's Government for the full implementation of the clause against intruders in the Convention on the Continental Shelf of 1958, which the United Kingdom and every EEC country has ratified and the International Court of Justice has adjudicated on in 1969. Under which convention British citizens have the exclusive right to exploit such fishing grounds as crab and lobster beds within the new natural boundaries of Great Britain within the outer limits of the Continental Shelf. Therefore your Petitioners pray that your Honourable House do most urgently debate the conservation of Britain's Inshore Fishing Grounds and do give protection to British Inshore Fishermen for the full implementation of the Clause against intruders in the Convention on the Continental Shelf of 1958, and that your Honourable House do approve to ban Beam Trawling along the South Coast except by local Trawl Permits to meet area needs and that your Honourable House do enforce existing Regulations for conservation by establishing a fast adequate Naval Patrol System competent to protect all areas under their control and supervision. And urges your Honourable House to call for an immediate Debate on these matters. And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. This petition is signed by 41 inshore fishermen in my constituency which, although numerically not very large, represents a very significant group of fishermen in that part of England, and I hope that the House will give urgent consideration to their petition.

To lie upon the Table.

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