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Illegal Trawling

Volume 161: debated on Tuesday 13 March 1923

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asked the Under-Secretary to the Scottish Board of Health which cruisers were concerned in the detection of illegal fishing in February last, and in which waters; into which ports were the captured vessels taken; whether prosecutions were instituted; and, if so, what penalties were imposed?

As the reply to my hon. and gallant Friend's question can most conveniently be given in the form of a tabulated statement, I propose, with his permission, to circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the statement:

and half-a-dozen other lawyers, two duke's commissioners, and numerous other partially employed factors and gamekeepers were engaged for seven days to ascertain what degree of fright and injury was occasioned to this landlord's deer by the sheep grazing on his forest; why the nation's interest was not represented at this inquiry by Crown counsel or agents, and why this claim was not submitted to the Defence of the Realm Losses Commission; and what is to be the total cost to the British taxpayer in connection with this alleged injury to deer and the consequent arbitration proceedings?

With regard to the first part of the question, I am aware of the proceedings referred to which arose out of claims for compensation for alleged diminution of letting or selling value of the deer forest which was compulsorily stocked with sheep. In answer to the second part, the arbiter did not act in his official capacity as a sheriff-principal, and his remuneration as arbiter will form part of the arbitration expenses. With reference to the third part, the number of persons engaged on behalf of the Board of Agriculture for Scotland was kept as small as the importance of the case would permit. My Noble Friend has no control over the numbers engaged on behalf of the claimants. With reference to the fourth part, the national interest was represented by the counsel acting for the Board of Agriculture. In answer to part five, reference to the Defence of the Realm Losses Commission would not have been competent, as in law such claims, failing agreement, must be settled by arbitration before a single arbiter. I am unable at present to answer the last part of the question, as the arbiter has not yet issued his award.

Will the Under-Secretary for Scotland make inquiries and so put himself in possession of information that will enable him to answer the other part of the question; he says he is unable to answer it?

I am unable to answer it because the facts are not as yet published. I do not know the answer because the answer is not known to anybody.

Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman not aware that a great many ex-service men desire to be settled in that particular part of Ross-shire, and now that the arbitration is over will he see to it that a settlement is speedily effected?