HC Deb 25 June 1888 vol 327 c1112
MR. FRASER-MACKINTOSH (Inverness-shire)

asked the Lord Advocate, Whether the law regarding lobster fishing is entirely regulated by 40 & 41 Vict. c. 42; whether, under Section 10, the Board of Trade made the public inquiries, and gave the public notices therein contemplated; in particular, were inquiries made and notices given in regard to the lobster fisheries of the Outer Hebrides; and, if so, where and when; whether he is aware that the Procurator Fiscal of the Long Island District of Inverness-shire suddenly issued notices prohibiting, for the first time, fishermen, who had purchased on credit the requisite materials for the season, from taking lobsters on the West or ocean shores of South Uist during the months of June, July, and August; whether, according to the fishermen, this is the only period of the year they can with safety fish that stormy coast; and, whether he will cause inquiries to be made as to this novel interference with the usages of the fishermen, with the view of their being heard in defence of their chief means of subsistence?

THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. J. H. A. MACDONALD) (Edinburgh and St. An- 1113 drew's Universities)

The law is regulated by the Act quoted, and there is also an Act passed in the year 9 Geo. II., c. 33, which by Section 4 provides a close time for lobsters in June, July, and August on the coast of Scotland. This section of the Act, though still in force, has very generally fallen into desuetude. The Procurator Fiscal referred to has not issued any such notices as are set forth in the Question, and no inquiries have been made. So far as I can ascertain, in consequence of a complaint made to the Procurator Fiscal, he instructed the police constables in the district to report to him for his information any offenders against the Act of Geo. II. quoted above, and against Sections 8 and 9 of the Act of 1877, which prohibit the sale of lobsters under a certain size. I am informed that it is not the case that the months mentioned are the only ones during which this fishing can be carried on with safety; but that during these months there is less fishing than at any other period of the year, owing to the loss of lobsters in transit during the warm weather, and the low prices realized.