HC Deb 11 August 1843 vol 71 cc547-8

House in committee on the Fisheries Bill.

Captain Pechell

complained that the treaty, which had been entered into with France, for regulating the fisheries of the two countries was most unequally advantageous to the French fishermen, so much so that the French press had loudly congratulated their countrymen upon the advantages they had obtained from Lord Aberdeen. He wished to know how far the House had the power of altering that treaty?

Mr. Gladstone

said, the House, though it might refuse to carry a treaty into effect where an Act of Parliament was necessary for that purpose, could not alter or modify a treaty itself. Lord Aberdeen had made the most favourable arrangements for this country that he could. Though England, no doubt, had made concessions, France had made others in return of much value to our fishermen.

Viscount Palmerston

thought that the third regulation was opposed to the articles of the treaty, which gave to the fishermen of each country the exclusive right witin three miles of their respective shores. The third regulation, however, permitted the French fishermen, during the herring season, to come within the limits of the British fisheries. This permission would practically put an end to the limitation laid down by the treaty, as far as the French fishermen were concerned. It was said that the concession was reciprocally advantageous; but there was no reciprocity in the matter, for our fishermen never required to go within the French zone. It was an unwise and unnecessary concession; and indeed, in his opinion, the commissioners, in making it, had exceeded their powers.

Mr. Gladstone

said, that there had been reciprocity, to all intents and purposes; for, in return for allowing the French boats to anchor, during the herring fishery, within three miles of our coast, our fishermen were to be allowed to anchor their oyster boats within the port of Chaussée, a concession of which they had been greatly desirous. Whether the one concession was a return in full for the other, was a different question.

House resumed. Bill to be reported.

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