HC Deb 11 September 1893 vol 17 cc921-5

Order for Committee read.


said, he wished to move— That it be an Instruction to the Committee that they have power to insert Clauses empowering fishery district committees to issue licences to persons to capture salmon in unchartered territorial waters. He had reason to believe that since the Second Reading of the Bill the Secretary for Scotland had changed his opinion as to the introduction of his (Mr. Anstruther's) clauses dealing with salmon fishing in the sea. On that occasion the right hon. Gentleman expressed the opinion that if means could be found to enable fishermen to catch salmon in the open sea, he would give every assistance in his power to it. He made this Motion now in order to know from the Secretary for Scotland as to why it was he could not now agree to the proposals which he (Mr. Anstruther) foreshadowed on the Second Reading. He had, however, received an intimation the other night that the Government could not hope to carry the Bill through Committee at this period of the Session, unless he was willing to abstain from pressing the clauses dealing with the salmon fishing which stood in his name. His constituents were greatly interested in this part of the Bill, and he was bound to move the Instruction in order to bring forward the clauses, and so to give the right hon. Gentleman an opportunity of explaining why he could not now assent to the proposals he had foreshadowed on the Second Reading of the Bill. It was a great disappointment to him that the Committee stage of the Bill had only been brought on at this period of the Session and at this hour of the night. He begged to move the Instruction which stood in his name.

Motion made, and Question proposed. That it be an Instruction to the Committee that they have power to insert Clauses empowering fishery district committees to issue licences to persons to capture salmon in unchartered territorial waters."—(Mr. Anstruther.)


said, he was of opinion that most Members present acquiesced in what had taken place at a meeting a few days ago in regard to this Bill, and that was that the measure should be considered as non-contentious. It was only on the condition that the Bill was non-contentious that it could be passed through the House. Under these circumstances, he must appeal to the hon. Member to withdraw his Instruction. The only chance of this Bill passing was that all Members should agree that all Amendments proposed should be absolutely congenial to the general provisions of the Bill. He believed that there was a very universal wish amongst Scottish Members that the Bill should pass; and, therefore, he asked hon. Members to make this sacrifice, beginning with his hon. Friend who had moved this Amendment.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

*SIR W. WEDDERBURN rose to move an Instruction with respect to foreshores, but—


ruled that it did not come within the scope of the Bill.

Motion made, and Question, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair," put, and agreed to.

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clause 5.

MR. HOZIER (Lanarkshire, S.)

said, that as an assessment was to be levied on all seaboard counties, he would like to know what seaboard counties were?


said, it would be much easier to tell him what were not seaboard counties. They were Perth, Lanark, Peebles, Selkirk, and Roxburgh.

DR. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, W.)

said, he had given notice of a Motion for the omission of Subsection 3 of Clause 6, relating to rates. The provision in the sub-section permitting the levying of a maximum rate of 3d. in the £1 had naturally caused some alarm in his constituency; but he understood that the Government were prepared to reduce the maximum to 1d., and in that case he would not press his Motion.


said, the vote would press heavily in the upland districts, and suggested that the burden should be borne in Scotland, as in Ireland, by the Imperial Exchequer.


wished to say at once that the Government were quite prepared to meet the wish of a large part of the Committee by placing the figure of 1d. instead of 3d. in the £l. That would bring in more than ample money to cover the amount required for the purposes of the Bill. It was true that the fisheries of Scotland had a claim on the Imperial Exchequer, but that claim was to a considerable extent met, because a larger sum was annually paid out of the Imperial Exchequer to the Scotch fisheries than was paid to the fisheries of England. He agreed that the fishing industry was in the interest of the many and not of the few, and that was the argument which lay at the root of asking the entire community to provide some of the funds. The public rate ought to be applied in the interest of fishermen just as well as for the purpose of small holdings, allotments, or roads, but in this case they asked the counties not to undergo a great expense but to guarantee a certain portion of the cost. The main expenditure would come from the mussel beds which, if properly worked, would, he was convinced, more than pay the whole cost of the Act.

Clause amended, by the substitution of "one penny" for "threepence" as the maximum rate.

Other Amendments agreed to.

Clause 8.

The following Amendment in the name of Mr. ANSTRUTHER was ruled out of Order:— Clause 8, page 4, line 12, at end, add,—"And the reasonable travelling and personal expenses of such member shall be paid out of the funds at the disposal of the Fishery Board.


said, he hoped that the Government would hold out hope of giving effect on a future occasion to the object of his Amendment.


said, when the Estimate for the Fishery Board came on he would favourably consider the propriety of allowing the travelling expenses of those members not of the Fishery Committees, but of the Fishery Board, who were sent up by the Fishery Committees, and to whom the payment of their expenses might be rather a severe burden.


asked if the right hon. Gentleman would not extend it to members of the Fishery Committees as well?


replied that members of the English Fishery Committees had not got their travelling expenses, and he thought it would be far too large a question to consider for Scotland alone.

Clause agreed to.


proposed a new clause (Power to prohibit seine-trawling in certain localities).

Clause brought up, and read the first time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be read a second time."

MR. WASON (Ayrshire, S.)

thanked the right hon. Gentleman for the introduction of the clause.


asked what were the provisions of the clause?


read out the clause, and explained that its effect was to enable the Fishery Board, if it chose, to apply provisions against seine-trawling in particular localities.

MR. A. G. MURRAY (Buteshire)

pointed out that whilst under the Act of 1885 the Fishery Board were allowed to pass bye-laws reducing the stringency of the general law, the present clause would enable them to make bye-laws increasing the stringency of that law. He thought the Committee might fairly accept the clause as much better than none at all.

MR. MARJORIBANKS (Berwickshire)

remarked that a new clause which had been suggested by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North-East Manchester (Sir J. Fergusson) would have prohibited seine-trawling in the whole of the territorial waters of Scotland. There was, however, no complaint of seine-trawling except on the Ballantrae banks, and he, therefore, thought that the Government had proposed the best way of dealing with the question.


asked how it was that so much lighter a penalty was proposed than was provided for in the Amendment Act of 1889, where the penalty mentioned was a fine of £100?


replied that seine-trawling was carried on with a comparatively cheap instrument, whilst beam-trawling required expensive appliances, and a more costly vessel had also to be used.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause read a second time, and added.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill, as amended, be reported to the House."


asked the Secretary for Scotland if he could hold out any hope that an early opportunity would be afforded of raising the question of salmon fishing next Session? Would the Government be likely to introduce a measure for the amendment of the Salmon Act?


Early in the Session I said more than once that if we could pass the Sea Fisheries Bill this year I would do my best to introduce a Salmon Bill next year. I earnestly hope I shall be able to carry out that intention. I must own I should like to see a Private Bill of my hon. Friend on the Paper early next Session, whether the Government are able to supplement it with a Bill of their own or not.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill, as amended, to be considered Tomorrow.