Defence Stats always produce fascinating, detailed and comprehensive work.
Released this week is a compendium of fisheries protection related information;
This is an annual publication that provides information on the number of vessels boarded by the Royal Navy Fishery Protection Squadron (FPS) within British fishery limits, and the number of court convictions and Financial Administration Penalties (FAPs) issued as a result of the boardings. This edition provides statistics for financial years 2008/09 to 2014/15, with a base year of 2000/01. It also updates the conviction and FAP figures released in the 2014 edition. The FPS enforces fishery protection laws by patrolling the British fishery limits and conducting inspections of fishing vessels. Any infringements that are identified as a result of the boardings are followed up by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO). This may involve prosecuting offenders or administering FAPs.
Read the full data here
What the report shows is that the Fisheries Protection Squadron carried out 567 boardings in 2014/15 that resulted in 8 court convictions; 4 Irish, 1 French, 2 German and 1 Dutch nationals.
Boardings carried out by vessels of the Scottish Executive Environment Directorate and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for Northern Ireland are not included in the data tables.
Fishermen must therefore be a rather law-abiding bunch who realise sustainability is vital for their industry, or the deterrence effect of constant patrolling works.
With the recent deployment by HMS Severn in the Caribbean, devolved authorities conducting their own fisheries protection tasks and questions about the new OPV’s remaining to be decided in SDSR, is it time to rername the Fisheries Protection Squadron to reflect their wider role?