§ LORD BOOTHBY
My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have given further consideration to the question of extending the fishery limits around our coast; and whether they have any statement to make on this subject.]
§ THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (THE EARL OF DUNDEE)
My Lords, as I told the House on April 29, Her Majesty's Government have taken steps to regain their freedom of action regarding the extent of 209 the United Kingdom's fishery limits, by giving notice to terminate our participation in the North Sea Fisheries Convention of 1882 and also to terminate the Anglo-French Fisheries Regulations of 1843. This notice will take effect in June, 1964. I also said that Her Majesty's Government were inviting the members of the European Free Trade Association and of the European Economic Community, Iceland, the Irish Republic and Spain to a Conference on fishery problems. The extent of fishery limits will be one of the principal subjects under discussion at this Conference, which opens in London on December 3.
§ LORD BOOTHBY
My Lords, while thanking the noble Earl for his reply, which is extremely encouraging, may I ask him to bear in mind that the decline in the near-water fisheries round our coasts has been continuous since the war, and that, if disaster is to be averted, our inshore fishermen really will require to have the protection that they now urgently need?
§ EARL ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
My Lords, am I to understand from this that Her Majesty's Government's policy will be to match limitation with limitation? Our fishermen are not allowed in wide areas round the coast of other countries and are subjected to very heavy fines, sometimes very unfairly; and I hope that the noble Earl will keep in mind the need for doing the same.
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
Yes, my Lords, I will certainly keep that in mind. Our main object at this Conference is to get agreement among the countries who are coming to it.