§ 36. Mr. Hector Hughes
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for increasing the numbers of, and equipment for, the squadron for the protection of fishing vessels in the North Sea and in fishing grounds further north.
§ Dr. David Owen
There are no plans for adding to the six coastal minesweepers in the Fishery Protection Squadron, based at H.M.S. "Lochinvar". These regular patrols are supplemented from time to time by other ships. Nor do we plan to increase the number of distant water patrols carried out by frigates from the Western Fleet during the main fishing season. Equipment in all H.M. Ships employed on fishery protection duties is adequate for the task.
§ Mr. Hughes
Does not the Under-Secretary realise that there should be plans to increase the protection of our vessels, that other Powers whose vessels poach in British fishing waters are protected by air and sea and that they greatly damage British fishing fleets and prospects? Will he take steps to see that protection vessels are increased in number and kind?