asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the activities during this winter's months at sea off the coast of Scotland of his fisheries cruisers with particular reference to the number and nature of the incidents in which they have been involved in protecting the Scottish fishing industry and also indicating the health of the officers and crews so serving.
Eight fishery cruisers have been on normal patrol this winter. During November and December seven cases of suspected illegal fishing were detected; three distress calls from fishing boats were answered; and on 25 occasions the presence of foreign fishing vessels in areas prescribed by the Trawling in Prohibited Areas Prevention Act, 1909, were reported. The health of the officers and crews has been generally good.
While thanking the Minister for that reply, may I ask him whether he thinks that there are enough of these fishery protection vessels for the vast areas of sea which have to be covered? Is he aware that in the winter season the officers and crews of these vessels have to put up with very arduous times and great difficulties, and will he investigate their conditions of employment with a view to determining whether the number of such protection vessels should or should not be increased?
I think that the last part of the hon. and learned Gentleman's supplementary question raises a different point, but if he will put down a Question I will certainly do my best to answer it. On the general question, it seems to me that the results so far show that the matter is well in hand.