HC Deb 03 August 1903 vol 126 cc1397-8


Order for Second Reading read.

* MR. AILWYN FELLOWES (Huntingdonshire, Ramsey),

in moving the Second Reading of this Bill, said the object of the measure was to transfer to the Board of Agriculture the powers and duties relating to sea and inland fisheries now carried out by the Board of Trade. The Board of Trade welcomed the Bill, and the Board of Agriculture were perfectly willing to undertake the duties and to do everything they could on behalf of so important a class, and to encourage and develop the fishing industry. The question to be dealt with related to the encouragement of production of food, and therefore comes within the province of the Agricultural Department. It was believed that the methods which had made the Board of Agriculture more and more useful to the farming industry would be useful also to the great fishing industry of the country. The fisheries were already under the Department of Agriculture in Holland, Germany, Belgium, Ireland and Canada. The transfer was to take place on October 1, and, subject to the approval of the Treasury, the duties would be carried out by an assistant secretary of the Board of Agriculture, with a separate department altogether, under whom there would be two inspectors, one for fresh water and the other for sea fisheries. The Bill was strongly supported by the whole of the fishing industry, and he hoped the House would now give it a Second Reading.

Motion made and Question proposed "That the Bill be now read a second time."

MR. DALZIEL (Kirkcaldy Burghs)

said the hon. Gentleman had made a very clear statement of the objects and intentions of the Bill, and if the representatives of other Departments followed his example they would be much more likely to get their measures passed than by endeavouring to rush them through without explanation or debate. He had placed on the Paper a Motion for the rejection of the measure, mainly because he had little confidence in the manner in which many of the duties of the Board of Agriculture were discharged. It should be remembered that by this Bill duties were to be handed over to a Department not directly represented in the House of Commons, and upon which, therefore, it was difficult to exercise legitimate pressure. He understood, however, that there was a general feeling on the part of the industry principally concerned in favour of the Bill, and therefore he would not move his Amendment.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read a second time, and committed for to-morrow.