§ MR. CHARLES HARRISON (Plymouth)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to the serious loss and damage accruing to the fishing industry from the sunken wrecks on the fishing ground between the Eddystone and Start Point; and whether he will cause such wrecks to be broken up or destroyed, or consult with the Admiralty as to their removal?
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF TRADE (Mr. C. T. RITCHIE,) Croydon
My attention has from time to time been called to the loss and damage caused to the fishing industry from sunken wrecks in the neighbourhood of the Eddystone and Start Point. The Board of Trade have no statutory powers nor any funds at their disposal to enable them to undertake the removal or destruction of such wrecks.
§ MR. HARRISON
asked whether the right hon. Gentleman would not consult the Admiralty in order to ascertain whether they could not do something in the matter?
§ MR. RITCHIE
I do not know what advantage would be derived from our taking that course, because it is quite certain that the Admiralty are no better off than we are in the matter. They have neither power to interfere nor funds to pay the expenses any more than we have.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
asked whether the expenses might not be defrayed by a grant made from the Trinity House Mercantile Marine Fund?
§ MR. RITCHIE
I am not sure, but I may point out to the hon. Gentleman that if a Government Department were to take upon themselves the responsibility for clearing the bottom of the sea, and were to draw upon the Mercantile Marine Fund for the expense of doing so, there would not be much of that fund left for other purposes.