§ Lord Borthwick
asked Her Majesty's Government
Whether they have any plans to change the arrangements for fishery protection at sea.
§ The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Trumpington)
: In order to maintain the patrol capability at the level I consider necessary to achieve effective deterrence and proper compliance with UK and EC fisheries regulations, the department arranged to charter the "Southella" to carry out fishery enforcement duties within British fishery limits. The charter runs from the middle of July until 25th October. The ship is converted for this work, having previously carried out similar duties for the Falkland Islands Government and the 401WA Commission of the European Communities. It has been supplementing the ships of the Royal Navy's fishery protection squadron.
Like the vessels of the fishery protection squadron, "Southella" has been operating under the direction of the Ministry's Sea Fisheries Inspectorate. She has a team of experienced inspectors who are carrying out enforcement checks on both British and foreign fishing boats, mainly though not exclusively, in the South-West Approaches.
402WA This civilian addition to the fishery enforcement capability is necessary because of a current shortfall in the availability of suitable naval ships this year. The requirements for the next year will be reviewed in the light of the availability of Royal Navy vessels.
I commend the fishery protection squadron for the invaluable service it has given and continues to give in carrying out the fishery enforcement duties for the protection of fisheries and the ultimate benefit of all fishermen.