HC Deb 16 July 1862 vol 168 cc402-4

Bill considered in Committee:—

(In the Committee.)

Clause 1 (Short Title).


said, he thought the Bill ought not to be pressed that Session, as further investigation into the subject of Irish fisheries was required. The Select Committee to which the Bill had been referred had examined but very few witnesses, and had not examined the Chief Commissioner of Fisheries in Ireland. He hoped his hon. and learned Friend would withdraw the Bill for the Session; and if a good Bill should be introduced next Session, it should receive his hearty support. He moved that the Chairman do leave the chair.


said, he saw no necessity for postponing legislation. The Bill had been referred to a Select Committee with the sanction of the Government, and the Bill under consideration was the result of the reference. The Committee did not think it was necessary to examine a number of witnesses, because a great deal of evidence relating to the subject had been taken on former occasions. It was not a question between the upper and lower proprietors, but one of increasing the supply of an important article of food.


observed that the Bill was purely an anglers' Bill, which would seriously interfere with rights which had been recognised by Parliament. He denied that the breed of salmon was decreasing in Ireland, but he believed, that if the Bill passed, it would greatly raise the price of salmon. He had been the only representative of the lower proprietors upon the Committee, and he had in vain endeavoured to induce them to take further evidence. There were many cases in which the Bill would be utter ruin to persons who had invested their money in the Irish fisheries, and in his experience a Bill had never been introduced into Parliament which would operate as a greater grievance to a large and industrious portion of the population. The inland proprietors did not feel for the opponents of the Bill — the tidal water proprietors. They advocated the case of the anglers, and declared that the tidal water fishermen were robbers, who had obtained the Act of 1842, and ought to give up the advantages which they had thus gained. But it was the greatest injustice to repeal an Act on the faith of which people had invested their money—the Encumbered Estates Court had sold rights of fishing, and the Court of Chancery had granted leases—and to do that with hardly any notice, and without any compensation to those whose rights were affected. He hoped the Bill would be withdrawn, that the subject would be considered in the recess, and that next year the Government would introduce a Bill which would do justice to all parties.


said, he should sup-port the Bill, the whole opposition to which was raised by a few interested proprietors, while its advocates were the whole Irish nation. The question was whether there should be stake nets, which would ultimately destroy the Irish salmon, or whether the breed of salmon should be protected by the Legislature. It was said that the number of salmon in the market had increased of late years. That was what they wanted to prevent; for if the salmon were killed beyond proportion from year to year, that species of fish would be annihilated. So destructive had been these stake nets that in many parts of Donegal they were taken up because there was no more fish to be got. The Bill was said to be an anglers' Bill, but the take of salmon by anglers was hardly worth considering, while no modification in the stake nets could be made consistently with the preservation of salmon in Ireland. He should have no objection to the Bill standing over to another Session if he saw any chance of a compromise, but there was none whatever, and therefore he hoped it would now pass.


said, that the Bill was solely directed against stake nets, the erection of which was secured by the Act of 1842.

House resumed.

Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow, at Twelve of the clock.

House adjourned at five minutes before Six o'clock.