HC Deb 06 December 1989 vol 163 cc247-8W
Mr. Austin Mitchell

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the number of Spanish fishing vessels registered as British in 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988 and the latest available month of 1989, the number of such vessels prosecuted for fishing offences in each year and the present location of Spanish vessels whose British registration was withdrawn under the Merchant Shipping Act.

Mr. Curry

Definitive annual figures are not available, but our current estimate is that the number of fishing vessels on the British register which were beneficially owned abroad (mostly in Spain) rose from about 43 in 1985 to about 140 at the time the new registration provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act came into effect on 1 April 1989. At present no vessel can be registered as a British fishing vessel unless its owners are resident and domiciled in the United Kingdom and the vessel's operations are directed and controlled from this country. The information on prosecutions of vessels believed to be beneficially owned in Spain is as follows:

Year Number
1985 2
1986 0
1987 14
1988 7
1989 (to end March) 26

No comprehensive information is available on the location of vessels which ceased to be registered as British fishing vessels on 1 April. A number are laid up in this country; others are understood to be in Spain.