§ 29. Mr. M. MacMillan
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what action is being taken by the Herring Industry Board and by his Department to revive and develop the fishing industry in the Isles of Barra, the Uists and Harris; and what is the estimated cost of Government assistance for this purpose in the present year.
§ Mr. J. Stuart
I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to him on 13th May. As much of the assistance is being provided under general schemes for the benefit of the herring industry, I regret that the answer to the second part of the Question is not available.
§ Mr. MacMillan
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in these islands there used to be a very flourishing herring fishing industry giving employment to many of the people in the area and that today there is virtually no herring fishing? Cannot the right hon. Gentleman put some pressure on the Herring Industry Board to set up a processing plant in the area of Barra and South Uist in order to enable the men to land fish for processing in their own islands without making the work uneconomic through having to transport their catch across the Minch every time?
§ Mr. Stuart
My information is that unfortunately, to a great degree the herring have departed from Barra and South Uist. The scientists do not know the reason, and I am afraid I cannot say what it is.
§ Mr. MacMillan
Is the Minister aware that it is the Herring Industry Board and the Scottish Office that have deserted Barra and the Uists and not just the herring?