§ 29. Mr. James Johnson
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he is satisfied with the continuing state of fishery protection; and if he will make a statement covering the last six months of operations.
§ Mr. Duffy
Yes. In the last six months protection vessels of the Royal Navy and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland have carried out 1,085 boardings of fishing vessels within the extending British fishery limits. 996 of these boardings were of foreign vessels, and skippers of 24 foreign vessels have been convicted of fishery offences. We now have three Island Class vessels operational and the fourth will start her first patrol shortly. The fifth Island is expected to be accepted early next year. RN, RAF and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland resources used to enforce fishery protection measures have proved most effective.
§ 36. Mrs. Winifred Ewing
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will give a report on the role, experience and effectiveness of the Royal Air Force in connection with fishery protection.
§ Mr. Wellbeloved
Nimrod aircraft of the Royal Air Force have continued to carry out their fishery protection roôle66W most effectively during recent months. Their rôle, and the manner in which it is carried out, remains much as I explained to the House on 2nd May—[Vol. 931, c. 191–196]—Ican, however, report that the aircraft's capability will be further enhanced by a recent decision to instal in each aircraft, mainly for search and rescue purposes, a VHF radio set which will allow direct communication with similarly equipped fishing vessels. The programme to fit these sets will start shortly.