§ SIR. CAMERON GULL (Devonshire, Barnstaple)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he has any statistics to show what percentage of undersized flat fish would be preserved under the provisions of the Undersized Fish Bill, having regard to the fact that a very large proportion of such fish are destroyed in the process of hauling the trawl and sorting the catch.
§ MR. RITCHIE
I am advised that no reliable estimate can be made as to the percentage of flat fish, which would be preserved under the provisions of the Undersized Fish Bill. While it is, no 1278 doubt, true that many small fish are destroyed in the way suggested by the hon. Baronet, I may point out that it is anticipated that one effect of the Bill will be to deter trawlers from visiting certain grounds where small fish are known to abound, and where fish of the standard size are scarce. The Bill, moreover, would prevent the sale in this country of undersized fish, which are, I understand, at the present time imported from those foreign countries in which their sale is by law prohibited.
§ MR. GIBSON BOWLES (King's Lynn)
Has the right hon. Gentleman any grounds for the belief that any fish at all will be preserved by this Bill?
§ * MR. J. LOWTHER (Kent, Isle of Thanet)
Has the right bon. Gentleman no knowledge that the bulk of any such fish would be found to be dead in the net?
§ MR. RITCHIE
No doubt, Sir. That is true with regard to certain trawlers, but my point is, as stated, that if this Bill is passed into an Act this class of trawler would not frequent those areas where small fish are numerous and large fish scarce.
§ MR. H. S. FOSTER
Can the right hon. Gentleman indicate any particular cases where that would occur?
§ No answer was given.