Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.Donate to our crowdfunder
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) whether he is aware that there is dissatisfaction among the seine net fishermen off the coast of Northumberland and Berwickshire about the lack of adequate patrol services operating for their general benefit; and if he will take steps to remedy the position;
(2) why foreign fishing vessels are allowed to use waters off the North-East Coast contrary to regulations; and why the regulations are not enforced.
I am aware of the situation off the North-East Coast. The Captain of the Royal Naval Fishery Protection Squadron and my officers consult closely together to secure the most effective deployment of the available fishery protection vessels in order to ensure the observance of the North Sea Convention of 1882 for the regulation and policing of the high seas fisheries.
Special attention will be paid to the North-East Coast, within the resources available, during the period when incidents are most likely to occur.
Why has it taken the Department so long to arrange for these additional patrols? I drew the attention of the right hon. Gentleman's Department to this interference more than a year ago, and the Minister then said that they were not available. Why are they available now?
As the hon. Gentleman knows, it is impossible to have these vessels on call everywhere, wherever an incident may occur; but I think that last season there was a rather excessive number, an unusual number, of incidents in that area, and we intend to try this year to make sure that we deploy a sufficient number of patrols in the area if these circumstances look like arising again.