HC Deb 14 May 1827 vol 17 cc786-7
Mr. Kennedy

proposed the sending of the Salmon Fisheries bill to a Committee above stairs.

Mr. Beresford

said:—As representative for Berwick, a town whose chief trade consists in the produce of its Salmon fisheries, I feel it my duty to oppose the hon. member's proposition of sending his bill to a committee above stairs; and the reason why I do oppose it I shall state briefly to the House. The Berwick fisheries are those to which the London market looks for a great part of what salmon it has a demand for; and the proprietors of those fisheries have certainly a right to be considered in an arrangement which so materially affects their property. According to the existing law on the river Tweed, the fence or close time does not commence till the 11th of October. By the proposed alteration of the hon. member for Ayr, he would shut the river on the 16th September. Now, Sir, by the averages for the last thirty years there have been caught, between the 16th September and the 11th of October, the time that my hon. friend wishes to deprive us of, one thousand two hundred and fifty boxes of fish, annually; which, at the small price of 1d. a pound, would leave my constituents who had property in these fisheries, losers of 4,000l. per annum; and, by closing the 9th January, in lieu of the present time, the last day of February, he would further deprive them of 3,000l. a-year. At this time the finest fish are got at Berwick. There are few hon. gentlemen who cannot bear me out in my assertion, that at this season they are most valuable in the London market. Indeed, they fetch at this season from 3s. to 4s. per pound, and several of the fishers look to the success of their fishing at that very period, for the means of paying their spring-rents. Thus, by the proposition of the hon. gentleman, in the short space of nine miles, the extent of the Berwick fishing property, which is reckoned from Nirbour to the mouth of the river, my constituents would lose 7,000l. a-year, a sum which would utterly ruin their trade; and, as I cannot conceive that any general rule can apply to all rivers with justice to the proprietors of fisheries on them, I must oppose this bill.

The bill was recommitted.