§ Mrs. Golding
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what success he has had in eliminating the organised poaching of salmon and sea trout. what further measures he intends to take; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Gummer
Regulating fishing, and combating poaching, for salmon and migratory trout is the responsibility of the water authorities in England and Wales, working within the framework of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975. In 1986, the authorities mounted a total of 781 prosecutions for offences concerning salmon and migratory trout. The water authorities' powers were strengthened this year by the coming into force of the Salmon Act 1986.
In order to combat trade in illegally caught fish it has been made an offence under the 1986 Act for a person to handle salmon or sea trout where he believes, or it would be reasonable for him to suspect, that the fish were caught illegally. Provision was made for the establishment of licensing schemes to regulate dealing in salmon and migratory trout and a licensing scheme is being developed and will be submitted for Parliamentary approval of the necessary order when consultations have been completed with affected interests. The 1986 Act also increased the penalties for illegal fishing.
When these new measures have been in force long enough to permit an assessment of their impact, it is the intention of Fisheries Ministers to invite the Salmon Advisory Committee to examine their effectiveness.