§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ MR. HUNT moved, that it be read a second time that day three months. He said, this river was an Essex stream, which gave name to the town of Rochford, and which emptied itself into the Crouch, and which was specially fitted for the propagation of the oyster. The object of this Bill was to hand over to a company the monopoly of fishing in the four miles of water covered by the Roach, to the exclusion of the rights of fishing now enjoyed by the public, and to establish and preserve oyster beds there. The only analogous case that he knew of was the Herne Bay Fishery Bill, but in that case there was not the same encroachment on public rights as there would be here. That Bill, however, was quite of an exceptional character, and there had not been time to test the degree in which it would be advantageous to the public, for the Bill was only passed last year, and a period of three years was required to bring an oyster to perfection. The Deep Sea Fisheries Commission had been appointed to examine into the whole question, and nothing ought to be done until it had made its Report, but when that was done it would be the duty of the Government to introduce a general Bill, laying down the conditions on which monopolies for the supply of fish should be granted. It was said that this Bill was intended to promote the public benefit by enlarging the supply of oysters, but it would not benefit the English public, because the oysters taken from the River Roach had green fins, which caused them to be rejected from the London market, and they were exported to Ostend and Paris. This Bill would also prevent other fish being taken in this river, and seemed 1263 to him closely analogous to the taking away of rights of common, and he felt bound to oppose this concession, at all events at the present time.
§ Amendment proposed to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day three months."—(Mr. Hunt.)
§ MR. BRAMSTON
said, this Bill had been carefully considered before a Committee of the House of Lords. It was unusual, under such circumstances, to refuse a Bill a second reading. As to these oysters being sent abroad, if they could supply the Parisian market so much the better for those who could rear the supply.
§ MR. COX
said, the House of Lords could scarcely have had their attention drawn to the fact that the Commissioners of "Woods and Forests had sold the company the right of exclusive fishing in the river for £20 per annum, notwithstanding the proprietors higher up the stream had offered £500 per annum for that right.
§ COLONEL SYKES
said, he objected to the rights of the public which had been enjoyed for centuries, and which they themselves were not in a position to support, being interfered with in the manner proposed by the Bill.
§ MR. WATKIN
said, that if the Commissioners of Woods and Forests had power to sell the right of fishing in the stream, the Bill could not interfere with any public rights whatever.
§ MR. DODSON
said, he hoped the hon. Gentleman would not persevere in his Amendment. The Bill having come down from the other House, he thought the House of Commons would be adopting rather a strong measure in saying that there was no case for inquiry, and refusing to allow the Bill to go before a Select Committee, where both its principle and details would be fully considered.
§ Question, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question," put, and agreed to.
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read 2°, and committed.