§ MR. ANGUS SUTHERLAND (Sutherlandshire)
I beg to ask the Solicitor General for Scotland whether the attention of the Secretary for Scotland has been called to the injurious effect on the herring fishing industry in Scotland of the recent action of the Fishery Board in confiscating herring barrels with their contents, on the ground that they were under the regulation size; whether he is aware that a great number of barrels are now in stock, representing a considerable proportion of the fishcurers' capital, all of which were manufactured and bought prior to the issue of the recent Circular of the Fishery Board on the subject; what has been the result of the inquiry by the Secretary for Scotland into the complaints of the fishcurers with regard to the policy of the Fishery Board on this matter; and, whether instructions have been issued to the Fishery Board to withdraw the Circulars recently issued to their officers regarding confiscation of herring barrels; and, if not, what action does the Government intend to take to guarantee to the fishcuring trade in Scotland that security against confiscation of their property whish is so essential to the prosperity of the im- 265 portant national industry in which they are engaged?
* THE SOLICITOR GENERAL FOR SCOTLAND (Mr. S. DARLING,) Universities of Edinburgh and St. Andrews
The attention of the Secretary for Scotland has been called to the confiscation of barrels by the Fishery Board. The size of the barrels is fixed by Statute, and the Fishery Board had, therefore, no alternative but to confiscate barrels which were not of regulation size. The Secretary for Scotland is aware that a certain number of barrels are now in stock, and is informed that these barrels are being altered so as to conform to the law. The Fishery Board were bound to take proceedings on its coming to their knowledge that herrings were being packed in barrels the size of which was not in accordance with the requirements of the Statute. This being a statutory requirement, the hon. Member must be aware the Secretary for Scotland cannot issue any such instruction as is suggested. The Secretary for Scotland is informed that every care is now being exercised to insure that the barrels are of the statutory dimensions, and he therefore hopes that no necessity will arise in future for any such seizure of barrels as has recently taken place.