HL Deb 26 July 1990 vol 521 cc1792-3WA
Lord Kennet

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether press reports that salmon poachers have created a "60 mile chain of nets" across the strait between Northern Ireland and Scotland accord with their own information and, if so, what steps they are taking to ensure the regular removal of any such "chain of nets" and whose responsibility it is to ensure that these waters are kept clear for returning salmon; and

Whether they have identified any of the fishing vessels engaged in industrialised salmon poaching by a chain of nets between Northern Ireland and Scotland and what steps are being taken to stamp out this practice.

Lord Sanderson of Bowden

In recent years there have been attempts by salmon poachers to create extensive barriers of nets, though press reports of a "60 mile chain" are somewhat exaggerated. These nets are generally set in an area north of Northern Ireland and west of Islay. During the salmon season this area is patrolled regularly by a fishery protection vessel from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland which removes any illegally set nets. So far this season, illegal activity in this area has been low.

Vessels engaged in this illegal fishery are where possible identified by surveillance patrols. These are mainly small vessels registered in Scotland or in the Republic of Ireland. Where specific evidence is available, it is passed on to the appropriate prosecuting authorities.