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Fishery Protection

Volume 86: debated on Thursday 14 November 1985

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether the Government intend to make any changes in the arrangements for carrying out fishery protection; and if he will make a statement.

Ministers have reviewed the arrangements for fishery protection in United Kingdom waters. They have concluded that the marine surveillance and enforcement service provided by the Royal Navy fishery protection squadron, which complements other naval tasks, should remain with the Royal Navy. Aerial surveillance, when the role is more observation and collection of information rather than direct enforcement, can be carried out effectively and at lower cost by using civilian aircraft of a lighter type than the RAF Nimrods at present employed on this task. In consequence, the use of the Nimrods will be phased out as soon as arrangements can be made for the employment of suitable civilian aircraft.

The rest of the fishery protection arrangements operated by the fisheries departments will remain as before, with inshore aerial surveillance provided by civilian aircraft under their control, port-based inspection and control provided by their sea fisheries inspectorates and the fleet operated by the Scottish Department of Agriculture and Fisheries remaining responsible for marine surveillance and enforcement in a large part of the waters around Scotland.