asked the Minister for Fisheries what reports have been received of the operations of the Fisheries Patrol Boat on duty on the North Tirconaill coastline between Loughs Foyle and Swilly from 3rd till 30th November; if any foreign trawlers have during that period been found illegally fishing, if proceedings will be instituted against them, and when.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - OPERATIONS OF FISHERIES PATROL BOAT.
During the period mentioned the coast between Loughs Foyle and Swilly was patrolled between the 15th and 20th November (inclusive) by the fishery cruiser "Muir Chu." The weather became very bad after the fishery cruiser reached the area, and very few steam trawlers were seen. None of them were detected in the act of fishing illegally.
I am informed that the area in question was patrolled by one of the vessels of the Ministry of Defence from the 1st to the 15th November, and again from the 20th to the end of that month. No foreign or other trawlers were observed fishing illegally.
Arising out of that question I would like to ask the Minister was it by daylight or was it at night that the patrol vessel went through the area? Was it in daylight or at night that the patrol vessel discharged her duties?
If it were there from the 15th to the 20th November, and again from the 1st to the 15th, it was there presumably day and night.
Is the Minister aware that the fact that prosecutions are seldom entered into in these cases is causing grave anxiety to the fishermen all round the coast?
There are a great many prosecutions pending at the moment, as a matter of fact.
I am glad to hear that.
Will the Minister insist that the patrol boat will discharge her duties at night, not during daytime, as it is at night that these trawlers are illegally fishing?
I am satisfied that the patrol boat that is at the moment actually under my orders does discharge its duties in the way the Deputy requests.
My information from local fishermen is that the patrol boat went round during the daytime.