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Fisheries

Volume 984: debated on Friday 9 May 1980

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what estimate he has made of the total quay-side value of fish caught by vessels from other EEC countries in United Kingdom waters in the last 12 months for which figures are available; and whether, by percentage this was greater or lesser than fish caught by United Kingdom vessels in United Kingdom waters over the same period.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what recent representations he has made to other Governments of the EEC about the inadequacy of inspection of fishing catches in their own harbours of fish caught in United Kingdom waters to see that they were caught in accordance with EEC regulations.

Inspection of fish in harbours to ensure compliance with European Community regulations is the responsibility of the coastal State. My right hon. Friend has stated in the Council of Ministers that the Government consider that the Community should develop as soon as possible satisfactory common standards of control.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the number of vessels and their nationality that have been fined in British courts in the last 12 months for which figures are available for fishing contrary to EEC regulations in United Kingdom waters.

In 1979, three skippers of Spanish fishing vessels were convicted and fined for offences against United Kingdom statutory instruments implementing European Community fisheries regulations. The other convictions secured for fisheries offences during 1979 concerned infringements of United Kingdom national conservation and other fisheries measures.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what powers the United Kingdom has to ensure that nationals of other EEC countries are prosecuted for breaches of EEC fishing regulations.

Anyone of whatever nationality found by our fishery protection forces within our ports or fishery limits infringing fisheries regulations is liable to prosecution by the relevant United Kingdom authorities in our courts. We must, however, rely on the other EEC member States and, where European Community obligations are concerned, the Commission of the European Community to ensure the satisfactory enforcement of fisheries regulations in other member States' ports and waters.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what estimate he has made of the value of fish caught in accordance with EEC regulations in United Kingdom waters by French vessels in the last 12 months for which figures are available; and what estimate he has made of what percentage this is of the total French catch, in the light of the United Kingdom's current renegotiation of the common fisheries policy;(2) what estimate he has made of the value of fish caught in United Kingdom waters (

a) in accordance with EEC regulations and ( b) contrary to EEC regulations by Dutch vessels in the last 12 months for which figures are available.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what estimate he has made of the value of fish caught contrary to EEC regulations in United Kingdom waters by French vessels in the last 12 months for which figures are available.

It is not possible to provide an estimate of this sort. Our fishery protection forces are, however, vigilant in enforcing fisheries regulations within our fishery limits and the evidence does not suggest that illegal fishing in our waters is substantial.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is satisfied with the methods of inspection of fish landed in British ports to ensure that fish is not caught contrary to EEC regulations; and if he will list the methods used.

Yes. The inspectorates of the fisheries departments carry out a large number of quayside checks on the type, size and quantities of fish landed in our ports. These checks are supplemented by the examination of books and records as well as checks on fishermens' gear and inspections made at sea.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what requests he has made to other Governments of the EEC over cases of breaches of EEC fishing regulations to prosecute their own nationals for such breaches within the last 12 months.

When sufficient evidence is found by our enforcement authorities of any breaches of European Community fisheries regulations in United Kingdom waters prosecutions are undertaken in our courts. When evidence of illegal activity by foreign fishermen outside United Kingdom waters comes to our attention it is passed on to the State concerned. In such cases decisions on whether to prosecute must remain the responsibility of the flag State.