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Fisheries Protection

Volume 113: debated on Friday 3 April 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what arrangements are being made for airborne fisheries patrols between the conclusion of the existing contract at the end of May and the commencement of the new arrangement at the beginning of July; and if he is satisfied that the new aircraft and radar will be ready for operation in July.

Between the conclusion of the present arrangements and the commencement of the new arrangements the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland will deploy the inshore surveillance aircraft to cover offshore fisheries and a chartered Piper Aztec will maintain surveillance over coastal fisheries. I am assured that the new aircraft and radar are on programme for operation in July.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will provide figures showing, in comparable terms, the annual total cost of operating his Department's airborne fisheries patrols by RAF Nimrod, Dornier 228 with Benedix radar as operated under contract between September 1986 and May 1987 and Fokker F27–200 with Ferranti radar provided by his Department but operated and maintained under separate contracts as proposed for the future.

The best estimate that can be made of the costs which would have been incurred in operating the three types of aircraft with their different performance levels during the complete financial year 1986–87 are:

£ million
Dornier 2280·9
Fokker F27–2001·2

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland why he is offering separate contracts for (a) operating inshore fisheries surveillance, (b) operating offshore fisheries surveillance and (c) maintaining his Department's fisheries surveillance aircraft and equipment; and if he has considered continuing any or all of those contracts.

The Department has had three years' experience in the operation of a charter aircraft and a further 2½ years' experience operating and maintaining a Government-owned aircraft for inshore surveillance but only seven months' experience in operating an aircraft, other than Nimrod, on offshore surveillance. It is considered prudent at present not to combine the various elements but to proceed on the basis of a separate contract for the operation and maintenance of the inshore aircraft and separate contracts for the operation and maintenance of the larger and more complex offshore aircraft. The award of a three-year operator/maintenance contract for the inshore aircraft, effective from September 1987, is imminent, and it is hoped that the operator and maintenance contractors for the offshore aircraft will be announced later this month.