HC Deb 04 July 1895 vol 35 cc208-12

The House went into Committee upon this Bill.

(In the Committee.)

Clauses 1 to 8 agreed to.

On Clause, 9,


, who had an Amendment upon the Paper to leave out the clause, said that he did not intend to press the Amendment, but he should like to hear whether compensation for loss or damage would include compensation for loss of time through the detention of nets which were seized.


said, that the compensation referred to the nets taken. The clause did not raise the question of general damage.

Clause agreed to.

On Clause 10,

COLONEL COTTON-JODRELL moved:— In page 8, line 15, at the end of Subsection (2) to add 'whether resident in the district or not; and notice of such inquiry shall be sent to all sea fishery districts in the United Kingdom.' The reason he moved this Amendment was, that as English fishermen might be seriously handicapped by the clause as it stood, he thought that they ought to have notice so that they could appear before the Secretary for Scotland made such an order. The Scottish Fishery Board might stop all trawling within 13 miles of their coasts, the result of which would be that the Scottish firshermen would come down in large numbers to the waters on the coast of Cheshire and Lancashire; all his Amendment aimed at was that those injuriously affected Englishmen, as well as Scotchmen, should have the right of being heard before these orders were issued. In common fair play he thought that the Leaders on both sides of the House ought to accept the Amendment, as the Bill really ought to come within the category of contentious measures.


seconded the Amendment because the Bill affected the fishermen at Hull, Grimsby, and various other places in England. The Scottish fishermen, while quite within their right in protecting their own fisheries, ought not to do so in a way which might seriously affect others without those likely to be injured having at least a right to be heard.


said, they did not object to the first part of the proposed Amendment. The language of the second part, however, was very wide. It was proposed that notice should be sent to all sea fishery districts in the United Kingdom; that might mean to Cornwall and other parts which had no interest in the matter. He could not imagine that that was intended. He suggested that for the word "all" in the Amendment the word "such" should be substituted, and that the wording should be— And notice of such inquiry shall be sent to such sea fishery districts in the United Kingdom as the Board of Trade shall by rule prescribe. This, he thought, would meet the case, and he hoped this suggestion would be adopted.

MR. H. T. ANSTRUTHER (St. Andrew's Burghs)

said, there was not such a very large number of sea fishery districts in the United Kingdom, and perhaps some might take umbrage if they did not receive the same notice as the others. There seemed to be a slight objection to bringing the Board of Trade into the matter when the discretion rested entirely in this matter with the Fishery Board for Scotland. He thought the point of difference between the two sides on this matter was a very small one, and he hoped the hon. Member would be prepared to accept a compromise.

MR. J. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)

said, the matter was not of very great importance, but he did not think there was very much to be gained by sending the notice to other districts than those affected. He thought the number of Scotch fishermen who went down into these English districts was not large, and he did not think anything would be gained by applying the provision to such districts as Cornwall, or by sending notice of these matters to those who were not likely to be concerned. If the hon. Member thought that something would be gained by it they would not press their objection, but he thought that what his hon. Friend had offered was sufficient to meet the case. He thought he might safely say, as the President of the Board of Trade was not present, that the Board of Trade would have regard to any sea fishery interest that might be affected.


said the interests affected were daily increasing in extent, and the question had also to be considered from the point of view of the steam trawlers. These interests were very large, and the amount of capital invested in steam trawling was very great; he thought there could be no objection to the Amendment.


said he was much obliged to his right hon. Friends for the way in which they had received his suggestions. At the same time he thought that interests in Cornwall, which had been instanced, should be protected as much as other interests elsewhere; he hoped the Amendment would be accepted.


said it was not a very large question, and possibly the sending of the notices in some cases superfluously would not do much harm. They would be prepared to accept the Amendment with the introduction of the word "Committees."

Amendment, as amended, agreed to.


thought the wording of the third sub-section of Clause 10 was ambiguous, and suggested that it should be made negative instead of positive. The clause as it stood put the position of foreigners and British fishermen somewhat uncertainly. He thought it ought to be said that the exclusion might only take place where conventions had been entered into for placing foreigners under the same disability of fishing within the limit of 13 miles as British subjects. It would be monstrous if these districts should be closed to British fishermen while foreigners should be allowed to come within the area, and catch and sell the fish, and his object was to place foreigners and British fishermen on the same basis.


thought the object might be obtained by substituting the word "no" for "any" in line 16 of the third subsection, and "unless" for "if" inline 18.


said, he should be quite content with this.

*THE LORD ADVOCATE moved, Clause 10, Subsection 3, line 16, to substitute the word "no" for the word "any."

Amendment agreed to.


then moved, in Subsection 3, line 18, to substitute the word "unless" for the word "if."

Amendment agreed to.

On Motion that Clause 10 as amended stand part of the Bill,


said, he would not press his Amendment to omit the clause, under the circumstances, feeling that it would be disastrous to the Bill, but he did not wish it to be supposed that he was at all satisfied with the clause.

Clause 10, as amended, agreed to.

The remaining clauses, as amended, having been agreed to, together with the schedule to the Bill,

The Bill was considered as amended.

THE LORD ADVOCATE moved, "That the Bill be now read a third time."


said, he was glad that there had been no attempt to amend the Bill in such a way as to make it thoroughly acceptable, because any such effort would no doubt have prevented it from passing altogether. He was quite willing, therefore, to see the Bill pass; but it must be understood, at the same time, that the measure would not be accepted as a settlement of the question. During the last 10 years several attempts had been made to reconstruct the Fishery Board satisfactorily, but without success, and this Bill again failed in that important direction. Three years ago a Bill was introduced by the present Leader of the House which might have led to a settlement of the question if it had been passed, for that Bill contained a principle in regard to the election of the Fishery Board that might have proved satisfactory in working. The fishermen and their representatives in that House were not satisfied, and never would be satisfied, with the existing system of election of the Fishery Board by nomination. In short, the fishermen would never be content, and there would be no settlement of the question until their interests were protected on the Fishery Board by direct representation. Efforts had been made to secure this end in the Bill of 1892, but the present Bill went back to the old system and gave them only a Board of Nominees. The Bill of 1892, moreover, made it compulsory to have the fishery areas round the coast, but the present Bill made it simply permissive. Again, there was no provision for finance in the present Bill as there was in that of 1892. In those respects, therefore, they regarded this Bill as inadequate; but there was one clause in it that would prove beneficial, that which increased the penalties for illegal trawling, and for that clause alone the Bill was worth passing, but he repeated that it would not be regarded as a settlement of the question. In these circumstances he should not oppose the Third Reading.

Bill read 3°, and passed with Amendments.

House adjourned at Twenty-five minutes Before Six o'clock.