HC Deb 29 July 1907 vol 179 cc494-5

I beg to ask the Secretary for Scotland if his attention has been called to the fact that in Shetland forty-eight herring stations are now represented by nine, 866 boats by forty-five, and that wide-spread alarm exists throughout the entire country; if he is aware that the Norwegians drove the whale killers from their country on the ground that the herring industry was being ruined; and if he has any official Reports showing that the herring industry has recovered in Norway since the whale killers were driven off; and whether he proposes to take any measures to restore confidence to the fishermen.

The SECRETARY for SCOTLAND (Mr. Sinclair, Forfarshire)

My hon. friend does not give the years to which his figures apply, and it has not there-tore been possible to verify his statement. There is some concern in regard to this matter, but, so far as I am aware, there is no reason to suppose that that concern is general. The prohibition against whaling by the Norwegian Government affected certain districts only, and my information is that no appreciable improvement in the produce of the fisheries has resulted. I may add that the fishing on the East Coast of Scotland this season has been extremely successful, while the total catch for Shetland is now only 8,000 crans short of last year. The Whale Fisheries (Scotland) Bill which is now before the House contains proposals for the regulation of that industry, and I earnestly hope that Parliament may see fit to pass it into law this session.