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Volume 983: debated on Thursday 24 April 1980

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many French, Belgian and Danish vessels have been prosecuted for illegal fishing in British waters in the latest available year.

During 1979 prosecutions were brought by United Kingdom Government Departments in respect of five French and five Danish fishing vessels for infringements of United Kingdom fisheries regulations. No prosecutions were brought in respect of Belgian fishing vessels.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he is satisfied with the arrangements for ensuring that French vessels do not catch more than their quotas of fish in Common Market waters; and how the supervision of quotas at French ports compares with that in Great Britain.

No quotas have so far been agreed for EEC member States' fishing within waters under their jurisdiction. However, member States are under an obligation to conduct their fishing activities in such a way as to take into account the agreed total allowable catches and the allocations to third countries. The Council of Ministers' January agreement on catch reporting envisages that by 1 July the Council will agree on the details of a Community catch reporting system, but in the meanwhile member States are expected to use their existing arrangements for monitoring catches. While I understand that the French Government have brought a number of prosecutions in respect of landings of herring at their ports and are planning to increase the complement of their fisheries inspection service, it is clearly desirable that the Community should develop as soon as possible satisfactory common standards of control.