§ Mr. O'Halloran
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what progress has been made in discussions with fishermen on the introduction of the special radio communications channel for fishing vessels which he announced during his statement on 12 February.
§ Mr. Clinton Davis
I am pleased to report that the new radio communications channel will operate through the coast radio stations at Wick, Oban and Stone-haven as from 1 April 1979. These stations will provide a listening watch between 1700 hours and 0900 hours for vessels fishing outside vhf range off the coasts of Scotland and in the North Sea. A "Code of Operation" has been drawn up and preparations to extend the coverage of the scheme, bringing in other coast radio stations and taking account of particular operational requirements of fishermen, are well advanced.
It must be emphasised that the new channel does not replace the distress and urgency frequency of 2182 kHz. It is, however, intended to facilitate regular communications with shore, particularly when difficulties develop, and it is very important that fishermen, in their own safety interests, make full use of these new arrangements.