§ MR. M'CARTAN (Down, S.)
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether he is aware 562 that about six years ago the Inspectors of Irish Fisheries held meetings at Stewartstown, Toomebridge, and Crumlin, for the purpose of ascertaining, in the interests of the Lough Neagh Fishery, what restrictions should be made with regard to the taking of young fish, when it was decided that no trout or pollen of a less size than eight inches in length should be caught; whether the Board of Conservators of Coleraine afterwards sought to have the law amended to carry out the recommendations of the Inspectors; whether hundreds of boxes of young pollen under this size have been caught and sent to England every year since then, and after the payment of freight there only remains a profit of a few pence per box for the poor fishermen engaged there; and, whether, considering that if the young pollen were allowed to remain for a year or two in the lough it would bring an increased annual profit of thousands of pounds to the fishermen, he will take into consideration the desirability of amending the law so as to attain this object?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR) (Manchester, E.)
The attention of the Irish Government has been frequently called to the injury caused to the pollen fishing in Lough Neagh in consequence of the practice of taking the fish while too young. This Session the hon. Member for South Antrim (Mr. Macartney) brought in a Bill which would have checked this injurious practice and others which are forbidden by the existing law, but which cannot be successfully prevented by reason of defects in the Statute. That Bill, however, has been dropped. I cannot promise to bring in a Bill forthwith upon the subject, as I have no ground for thinking that such a Bill would be unopposed.
§ MR. M'CARTAN
If such a Bill were brought in by a private Member, would the right hon. Gentleman support it?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
If a Bill to carry out this object, and any other object to which there is no objection, were brought in by a private Member, I should be glad to support it, and to do all that I can to further its progress; but I cannot promise to bring in one myself.