§ Mr. Warren
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many reports have been received of infringements by foreign vessels of the limits and regulations in the Sussex Sea Fisheries District since the introduction of the quota system for sole and plaice; and what legal action has been taken.
§ Mr. Bishop
North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission sole and plaice quotas have operated in the English Channel since January 1975. Since then, the Fishery Protection Squadron of the Royal Navy has paid special attention to this area, and at least 116 days of vessel time have been devoted to it. The Squadron has carried out 51 separate boardings, inside limits or on the high seas, to inspect gear and catches, and has made every effort to investigate complaints of alleged poaching reported by local fishermen to our Sea Fisheries Inspectorate. No figure is available of the total number of these reports. Throughout this period of surveillance, the Fishery Protection Squadron has found two cases of apparent mesh size infringements and one incident involving a suspected infringement of the NEAFC rules on undersized 187W fish: all incidents have been reported to the flag States of the vessels concerned. Evidence was also found that some Belgian vessels had caught plaice after the quota had been fulfilled: this was brought to the notice of the Belgian authorities, which took appropriate action. No cases have been established of infringement of our fishing limits.