My hon. Friend will, I am sure, understand that I cannot provide details of Royal Navy patrol patterns in the south Atlantic. However, Her Majesty's Government have strongly condemned the deplorable attack on an unarmed fishing vessel in international waters by an Argentine coastguard vessel on 28 May, with resultant loss of life.
I understand the Minister's inability to be specific, but will he give the House an assurance that the Government remain satisfied that the level of naval patrolling within our terroritorial waters around the Falklands remains adequate to deter the sort of movement to which I referred in my question? More generally, has the incident caused Her Majesty's Government to reconsider the prospect, to which they look forward, of reducing the garrison on the Falkland Islands?
I can assure my hon. Friend that we keep our force levels under review, and at present we are certainly satisfied that our force levels in the south Atlantic are appropriate to meet the threat.
As the seas around the Falkland Islands now seem to be becoming a traffic jam of foreign trawlers, all intent on stripping the islands of one of its most important assets, is it not time that Britain and Argentina got together to try to agree some sensible policy for protecting the fish stock?
The hon. Gentleman will appreciate that fisheries policy is a matter for my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. He will also be aware that Government policy is to try to produce a multinational solution to that problem.