HC Deb 24 July 1840 vol 55 cc936-7
Mr. Darby

begged to ask the noble Lord, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, whether the treaty with France upon the subject of our fisheries had been definitively agreed to?

Viscount Palmerston

feared he had not been sufficiently understood on a former occasion. The regulations to be carried into execution by an Order in Council were not regulations applicable to the space between three miles of the shore on either side. That space was by the treaty preserved to each party, and each party would therefore exercise its own jurisdiction within that space. The regulations, to give effect to which, if they should be made, an Act of Parliament was required, were to be prepared by commissioners, one on the part of France, and one on the part of England, for the guidance of the fishermen of the two countries when they met on that part of the sea which was beyond the three miles on either side, and which was the highway of all nations. The House would perceive that, except by mutual consent, no regulations could be made binding upon the fishermen of the two countries when they met in that situation; but as it often happened that he long-line nets and trawl nets of the one party interfered with the other, each country had, on its own authority, made regulations for the guidance of its own fishermen, but the consent of both parties was necessary to apply such regulations to the fishermen of the two countries. Within the prescribed distance from shore, England would apply its own regulations to its own fishermen, and France would apply the regulations of its own Government to its own fishermen, but beyond the three miles he hoped that the commissioners would be able to frame such regulations as would best protect the mutual and reciprocal interests of the fishermen of both countries. These regulations could not receive the force of law until the next meeting of the French Chamber of Deputies, which would probably take place about the beginning of December, but they would be given effect to at the earliest moment.

Subject at an end.