§ Mr. Malone
asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he will make a statement about the future of "Open Line", the special ship-to-shore radio link for fishermen in the North sea.
§ Mr. David Mitchell
Following a departmental review, I have decided that Government should continue to provide funds for the "Open Line" radio service in the interest of the safety of fishermen and fishing vessels. This accords with the recommendation of the fishing industry safety group. The position will be reviewed again after two years.
I must, however, emphasise that continued funding beyond that period can only be justified if fishermen themselves clearly demonstrate the value of this unique service by making full use of it.