Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Fishery Protection.

47.

asked the Minister for Defence the number of foreign trawlers (a) intercepted and (b) observed by the recently acquired minesweepers since they went into service; and the date on which each vessel first went on active service in fishery protection.

48.

asked the Minister for Defence how many trawlers were captured in the last 12 months for illegal fishing in Irish coastal waters.

With your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 47 and 48 together.

The first fishery protection patrol carried out in each of the minesweepers L. E. Gráinne, L. E. Fola and L. E. Banba took place on 15th February, 1971, 11th May, 1971, and 17th June, 1971, respectively. Since 15th February, 1971, one foreign trawler was arrested and 259 were observed by the crews of the three minesweepers. Of the latter, 13 were boarded or checked by interrogation on loud-hailer or otherwise.

Would the Minister say what action was taken that was beneficial for fishery protection arising out of these arrests or interrogations?

The necessary interrogations were made and the crew of our minesweepers were satisfied as to the legality of the actions of the trawlers.

Even though they were inside the limit?

I did not say they were inside the limit. I said they were investigated.

Surely the Minister is not telling the House that they were investigated while they were outside the limit?

I am not, but they could be inside territorial waters and not fishing.