§ Sir A. SINCLAIR
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether his attention has been drawn to numerous complaints of illegal trawling along the east and north coasts of Scotland; and when he hopes to be in a position to announce his decision with regard to putting into force the outstanding recommendations of Lord MacKenzie's Committee?
Mr. W. ADAMSON
My attention has been drawn to recent complaints of illegal trawling off the east and north coasts of Scotland. Such complaints have not been numerous and have received prompt attention, and 20 detections have been made in the areas in question during the present year. As regards the outstanding recommendations of the Trawling (Scotland) Committee, I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply given to him on 19th November.
§ Sir A. SINCLAIR
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether his attention has been drawn to the report drawn up for the Ministry of Agriculture on the revival of the shell fisheries in North Norfolk; and whether, in the light of this report, and of the experiments conducted by the Conway Research Station, he will consider the possibility of starting shell fisheries in suitable areas in Scotland?
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
My right hon. Friend has seen the report referred to. In the opinion of the Fishery Board for Scotland it affords no guidance as to the prospects of a revival of shell fisheries in Scottish waters. The experiments at Conway are not yet completed, and in the Board's view have not yet reached the stage which would justify the consideration of schemes of oyster development in Scotland. The matter will, however, be kept under close observation.
§ Mr. RAMSAY
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware that the fishermen of the Western Isles, and particularly those of Scalpay and Eriskay, are against the introduction and practice of ring-net fishing in their neighbourhood; and whether he will consider the desirability of restoring pre-War con- 270W ditions so as to disallow such methods of fishing north of the Mull of Kintyre?
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
My right hon. Friend is aware of the attitude of the fishermen of Scalpay, Eriskay and other northwestern localities towards ring-net fishing in waters adjacent to their coasts. The position as regards the legality of this method of fishing in the area in question is not different from that which existed before the War, but in view of the complaints received the Fishery Board for Scotland are making inquiries into the matter.
§ Mr. RAMSAY
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware of the loss and hardship suffered by the men who live by the proceeds derived from the sale of lobsters, cockles, and other shell fish in the Western Isles, owing to the state of the transport service with the mainland; and whether he will take steps to provide an adequate and regular transport service with the mainland with the object of obviating such losses and hardships?
I received representations on this subject during my recent visit to the Western Isles. So far as the daily Stornoway service is concerned, the new and faster steamer which was recently placed on that service by the contractors ought to be of benefit to the fishermen concerned. On the whole matter, I am having inquiry made with a view to seeing whether improvement of the facilities can be arranged.
§ Mr. D. MILLAR
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he proposes to take any steps to secure an adequate supply of nets and gear before the commencement of the next fishing to replace the heavy losses sustained by the Scottish fishing fleet and to regulate the price of those articles?
As the result of a communication addressed to me by the Lord Provost of Edinburgh steps are being taken for the purpose of co-ordinating the various funds in aid of the fishermen, and any committee appointed for that purpose will doubtless consider whether the ordinary trading channels are the most suitable in present circumstances. The Scottish Net Manufacturers' Association have already offered their co-operation in this matter. While 271W there are no statutory powers for the regulation of the prices of nets and gear, the association referred to has offered its assistance in securing a reasonable and an agreed price. I hope and believe that all the manufacturers and traders concerned will realise the importance of supplying nets and gear at the most moderate price possible in the circumstances, and all the influence which I possess will be exerted to that end.