§ MR. ANDERSON (Elgin and Nairn)
asked the Lord Advocate, Whether he is aware that the Duke of Richmond and Gordon nets the River Spey, in Morayshire, from the mouth to Orton Bridge, from 6 a.m. on Monday to 6 p.m. on Saturday in each week during the salmon season, including 13 miles of non-tidal water; whether the netting is carried on by night as well as day, and in such a way that the upper waters of the River are almost entirely denuded of fresh run fish; whether the Duke of Richmond also nets the sea coast for several miles adjacent to the mouth of the Spey; whether fishermen in the Moray Firth who take a salmon in their nets are prohibited from landing the same; and, if so, under what law this prohibition exists; whether these rights were obtained by grant from the Crown, or how otherwise; and, if any, and what, consideration was paid for them; and, whether the Government propose to deal with these and similar rights in their Scotch Fishery Bill; and, if not, will the Government consent to an inquiry into the nature of those and other 1300 salmon rights, with a view to ascertaining whether their continuance is in the public interest?
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. J. H. A. MACDONALD) (Edinburgh and St. Andrew's Universities)
Salmon fishing is carried on by day and night at the places referred to, the extent of non-tidal water being eight and nine miles. It is not a fact that the upper waters are denuded of fish. As to the fourth Question, I have to refer the hon. Member to 7 & 8 Vict., c. 95; 25 & 26 Vict., c. 97; and 31 & 32 Vict., c. 123. The proprietor's rights were obtained by purchase from different proprietors, and not from the Crown. The Bill to be brought in by Her Majesty's Government is for the purpose of regulating and protecting fisheries, and not for interfering with property. There is no need for an inquiry into the nature of salmon rights, which are perfectly well and legally defined.
§ MR. ANDERSON
inquired, whether the right of netting salmon in tidal waters had been obtained from the Crown or from private proprietors; and, whether the Acts of Parliament which the Lord Advocate cited prevented fishermen who took salmon outside the mile limit from landing them?
§ MR. J. H. A. MACDONALD
said, the hon. Gentleman could ascertain for himself what the Acts contained. As to the rights of the present proprietors, they obtained them all from individuals, and not from the Crown. All salmon fisheries, whether in the tidal or fresh waters, must in every case have been obtained from the Crown, the Crown being Trustee for the nation of all salmon fishings.