§ 2.43 p.m.
§ LORD KENNET
My Lords, I beg leave to ask the first Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.
§ The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government what answer they returned to the recent request from the Government of Bermuda that the Fisheries Protection Zone of that island should be enlarged to cover the Challenger and Argus Banks.
§ THE MINISTER OF STATE, FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH OFFICE (BARONESS TWEEDSMUIR OF BELHELVIE)
My Lords, as we do not accept that exclusive national fishing limits may extend beyond 12 miles from baselines, we are unable to accede to any request from the Government of a dependent territory which involves the assertion of fisheries jurisdiction beyond that limit. Most of Challenger Bank lies outside the Bermudan 12-mile limit, and Argus Bank is about 20 miles from Bermuda. This has been explained to the Bermuda Government.
§ LORD KENNET
My Lords, would not the Government accept, all the same, 142 that it is surprising to find that these banks off Bermuda are rather heavily fished by fleets from, of all places, Japan and South Korea?
§ BARONESS TWEEDSMUIR OF BELHELVIE
My Lords, I understand that it was originally feared that this might take place, but it was accepted in 1971 that the Bermudan request for a 25-mile fishing limit could not be acceded to. Therefore in 1972—this year—the Proclamation was made for the 12-mile limit.
§ LORD BLYTON
My Lords, is the noble Baroness aware that I entirely agree with her Answer on this Question? We should be in an invidious position, seeing that we are fighting Iceland for our own right to fish within the 50-mile limit, to agree to a limit of 50 miles in the Bermudan area.