The australian naval institute

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Coastal Areas

Scottish; 12 mile limit, south to Berwick & Solway Firth

North Sea: Berwick to 2 degrees West in the Channel, East to 12 mile limit

English Channel: 2 degrees West to the Scillies and out to the median line to 5 degrees West

between UK and France. To the 12 mile limit further West. Western: Scottish border to the Scillies. out West to UK/Eire median in the north and out to UK 12 mile limit further south

Page 46 Journal ol the Australian Naval Institute

British ships do not take kindly to being boarded and inspected when foreign vessels (legal or not) sail blithely by It is generally politic, even if one is perfectly well aware of the fishing activity in an area, to ask a skipper being examined if he has seen any foreign fishing vessels recently

Another matter in which the Navy must tread particularly carefully is that of the long standing dispute concerning French trawlers fishing over pots in the vicinity of Selsey Bill on and south coast. The British potters frequently claim that the Frenchmen have trawled over and dragged up their pots, knowing that they are operating in areas closed to trawling by mutual agreement. Feelings run very high there is some truth in the accusation — but the fact of the matter is that far more often the British fishermen have laid their gear outside the areas allotted for potting and the French have been quite within their rights in trawling up the pots. As might be expected, it requires considerable tact and forbearance on the part of the Captain and crew of a Fishery Protection Ship to deal with the complaints of British fish­ermen who expect the FPS to sort out the Frenchies' right or wrong.

Co-operation between the Ministries is generally very good, save for the fact that DAFS cannot be regarded as a paragon of ef­ficiency A case in point is the Scottish Law requirement for two responsible' witnesses to testify in court to secure a prosecution DAFS policy has been that the two must be officers, but the FPS has very sensibly and repeatedly

pointed out that a Senior Rating such as the Coxswain should be quite competent to act as the second witness. DAFS had. at the time of writing, agreed in principle on several occa­sions, but had failed to actually do anything practical.

Another point of concern is the matter of the level within the Ministries at which the decision is taken to prosecute or not to pros­ecute. On more than one occasion a unit of the FPS has brought in foreign fishing vessels for prosecution on the instruction of MAFF or DAFS only to find that such action has imper­illed complex and delicate international reg­ulations. Conversely, orders have been passed to release arrested fishing vessels when it ap­peared absolutely clear that prosecution was not only desirable but politically essential.

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