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Trawling, Moray Firth

Volume 65: debated on Tuesday 28 July 1914

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35.

asked the Secretary for Scotland how many foreign trawlers were reported fishing in the Moray Firth since 1st January; if, during the same period, any British trawlers were seen in the Moray Firth and, if so, what distance from land; whether any prosecutions took place, and were the prosecutions directed against British or foreign trawlers, and with what result; how many Government vessels were employed in patrolling the Moray Firth during the period mentioned; what has been their cost to the State; and how is it that they are used for the purpose of arresting British trawlers, while foreigners can fish without molestation?

Since the 1st January last fifty-eight trawlers under foreign flags and two under British flags have been observed fishing in the Moray Firth. The two latter were observed respectively 10 miles and 13 miles from land. Three prosecutions have been instituted, two against masters of British trawlers and one against the master of a foreign trawler, who was detected fishing within the 3-mile limit. One British master was fined £75 or sixty days' imprisonment; the foreign master was fined £10 or sixty days, with the forfeiture of all fish on board his vessel; the charge against the other British master has not yet been tried. There has generally been one and at times two vessels patrolling the Firth, but as several vessels have been engaged, and have performed other duties, the cost cannot be stated. With regard to the last portion of the question, I would remind the Noble Marquess of the discussions which have taken place in the House during recent years on the point which he mentions, and of the inquiry of the Departmental Committee respecting fishery limits, which is now proceeding.

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if the foreign fines have been paid or the sentences carried into effect?

I would ask the hon. Member kindly to put the question down on the Paper.