§ SIR WILLIAM WEDDERBURN
I beg to ask the Lord Advocate, whether he is aware of the great distress existing at Whitehills, in Banffshire, on account of the failure this season of the fishing for herrings, haddocks, and flat fish in the Moray Firth; whether he is aware that this failure is attributed by the fishermen solely to the depredations of the trawlers; and whether he will make inquiry, and cause effective steps to be taken to remedy this grievance?
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. A. G. MURRAY,) Buteshire
I am informed by the Fishery Board that although the earnings of the Whitehills fishermen have been miserably poor this season, the extent of the distress in the village has been exaggerated, as the majority of 465 them had saved money from their previous earnings. The haddock fishing, upon which the men principally depend has been a failure since November last The men differ in opinion as to this being due to the effects of trawling, the majority holding that the trawlers are partly to blame for the failure on the in-shore ground off Whitehills, while only a few of the men believe that the trawlers are solely to blame. The value of the fish landed at Whitehills during the three months ended 31st January last was £1,435, while the value for the corresponding period of 1896–97 was £2,252—certainly a marked decrease, but not proved to be attributable to the operations of trawlers, complaints of scarcity of haddocks being general all round the coast.