§ 24. Mr. Wallace
asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland how many prosecutions and convictions there have been in Scotland since September 1984 for offences arising out of a white fish by-catch in excess of the permitted 18 per cent. by-catch in the Norwegian pout fishery.
§ Mr. Wallace
I note that there has been only one prosecution. Will the Solicitor-General confirm that, before prosecutions are instituted, the actual by-catch which has been measured as a sample is usually much in excess of 18 per cent. and, indeed, is about 24 or 25 per cent.? Will he accept that because of that Danish boats fish for pout in waters which they previously did not fish? Will he give all support to his colleagues who, at the forthcoming meeting of the EC Council of Fisheries Ministers will try to reduce the by-catch to 10 per cent.?
§ The Solicitor-General for Scotland
As the hon. Member appreciates, my right hon. Friend has already given an answer on the appropriate level of by-catch. Between October 1984 and March of this year 70 boardings were made by enforcement officers; in 53 of these by-catches of under 10 per cent. were found and in 17 there were by-catches of over 10 per cent., but still under 18 per cent. There was only this one case where the by-catch exceeded 18 per cent. I hope the hon. Member will be reassured that the extent of the by-catch by Danish fishermen has not been so great as to be a cause of anxiety to fishing organisations in Scotland. If the hon. Gentleman has any other information I hope that he will make it available.