§ MR. P. C. DOOGAN (Tyrone, E.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, whether it is a fact that, owing to the present state of the Law affecting the fishing for pollen in Lough Neagh, great quantities of fish fit for food are not legally saleable and consequently allowed to rot, affecting the industry of about 300 families of poor fishermen; and whether he can see his way to introduce a short Bill making it lawful to sell pollen of a length of seven inches and upwards?
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
Under the existing law (54 & 55 Vic, cap. 20) it is illegal to capture pollen of less size than eight inches. Experiments have been made with the view of ascertaining the condition of pollen less than that length, and apart altogether from the consideration, whether a fish of less than eight inches in length would be useful as a marketable commodity, the results of the experiments appear to clearly show that to reduce the size limit, would be injurious to the pollen fisheries.
§ MR. JOHN DILLON (Mayo, S.)
asked whether it was not the fact that with the present legal net, great quantities of pollen were caught between seven and eight inches, and whether as a result of the law as it stood these fish, though caught, were not allowed to be sold, and were consequently rendered useless and allowed to rot?
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
I can give the hon. Member this further information, which I think will practically answer the questions he has put to me. It appears that a number of undersized pollen are taken. This seems to be unavoidable, because the present size of the meshes of the net used is calculated to retain pollen of eight inches, when the net is in its normal condition. But when the net is being drawn with a string on the meshes these close up to a certain extent, and this would also be the case if even the mesh were larger 913 than at present. A certain waste, therefore, flues take place, some being eaten by the fishermen and others given to the pigs.
§ MR. DILLON
asked the right hon. Gentleman whether he did not think it would be fair to allow the fishermen to sell all the fish that was caught by the present legal net.