asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has considered the advisability of negotiating with foreign powers for the extension of the territorial limits for fishing operations beyond the present three-mile limit, in order to protect the inshore fishing from the destructive methods of trawling.
His Majesty's Government have given the fullest consideration to my hon. Friend's proposal for the extension of the territorial limit for exclusive fishing rights beyond the three miles limit now in force, but they have decided that it would be unwise to put it forward.
Is the Minister not aware that this antiquated three-mile limit does not protect the spawning beds, and these are being despoiled by British as well as foreign trawlers, thus jeopardising the livelihood of inshore fishermen?
I know that there is a strong case to be made for the inshore fishermen, but there are also the interests of our deep-sea trawlers to consider, and the Government believe that on balance the present arrangement serves us best.