The Fishery Protection Squadron ot the Royal Navy is one of the oldest constituted units of HM Fleet, The RN has been involved in fishery protection since the despatch of a Wafting Ship' in 1586 to (he North Sea for the herring season, and armed ships were operating under local jurisdiction for two hundred years before that date.
Full time fishery protection operations began in 1891 with a single gunboat and have grown steadily over the years to require the present 15 operational units, which are divided into the Offshore and Coastal, or Inshore Divisions. The former consists of the seven modern ISLAND class Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs), while the latter includes eight of the elderly TON class MCMVs.
The tasks of the Fishery Protection Squadron are defined as follows:
To provide platforms if requested by the concerned civilian Ministry for authorised members of the Sea Fisheries Committee to enforce by-laws.
In addition, the Squadron has more recent tasks assigned it, first in the matter of dealing with pollution at sea, by dispersing oil slicks or otherwise dealing with them, and, second, to provide a deterrent presence and surveillance of gas and oil installations with the capability of rapid response to any emergencies which may occur