HC Deb 14 December 1922 vol 159 cc3212-3W

asked the First Commissioner of Works, as representing the Secretary for Scotland, whether he is aware that the fishermen of Caithness and Sutherland are suffering from the illegal depredations of trawlers and from the seine-net fishermen in the Moray Firth; whether he is prepared to subject the seine-net fishermen to the same restrictions as the trawlers; whether he will give additional protection against illegal trawling by increasing the number of vessels employed on this duty by using steam drifters for the purpose and by increasing the penalties which can be inflicted on conviction for illegal trawling; and whether he is aware that those engaged in this industry are anxiously awaiting a declaration of the Government's policy on these questions?


During the last three months two complaints of illegal trawling and four complaints of illegal fishing with seine nets have been received by the Fishery Board for Scotland from fishermen of Caithness and Sutherland. In the same period two cases of illegal fishing off the coast of those counties have been detected by fishery cruisers. Seine-net fishermen are prohibited from conducting operations within the three-mile limit, but there is no power to prohibit that method of fishing outside that limit. Six vessels are already employed in fishery protection duties and the funds available do not permit of any addition to the number. Any increase in the existing penalties for illegal trawling would require legislation. The Government will utilise to the utmost all the available means for the protection of the fisheries.