§ MR. FRASER-MACKINTOSH (Invernessshire)
I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether he is aware that great poverty and distress prevails in the islands of South Uist and Barra, particularly among the fishermen and cottars; whether he is aware that legal injunction and interference by the proprietrix with the industry of gathering the seaweed called "tangles," for which a demand had sprung up, has stifled the industry; and that, in consequence, and to the great loss of the people, seaweed, worth thousands of pounds sterling, lies rotting on the 1347 shores of these islands; and whether he will extend the laws regarding white fishings in Scotland to all products of the sea?
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. J. P. B. ROBERTSON, Bute)
All the information I have on the first part of the question is to the effect that there is no exceptional poverty and distress in the district referred to, and that the applications for relief are unusually few in number. Presumably the hon. Member, by what he terms a legal injunction and interference by the proprietrix, means the action of interdict brought against certain parties who asserted a right to enter upon and use a farm for drying tangles. After judicial proceedings this interdict was made perpetual, and I understand that the result of this action has had none of the disastrous consequences set forth in the question. The industry is still carried on for the sole benefit of the crofters in the manner stated in the answers given to the hon. Member on March 17th and July 21st of last Session. As was then stated, I am unable to discover any legitimate grievance calling for remedy by legislation.