HC Deb 09 May 1907 vol 174 cc368-9
MR. CATHCART WASON (Orkney and Shetland)

I beg to ask the Secretary for Scotland if he is aware that there is a considerable increase in the number of steamers employed in the killing of whales; if he is aware that the local authority is powerless to exercise any control or to mitigate the public nuisance and danger arising from vast masses of putrifying flesh about the stations; if he is aware that the Norwegians protested so strongly against whaling stations on their coast that a law was passed forbidding them for a considerable period; if he is aware that since British and Foreign companies have been actively engaged in the indiscriminate slaughter of whales the herring fishing on the West Coast has been rapidly falling off, and that this year a certain station where three years ago 300 vessels were employed there are now none; and if he will consider the advisability of introducing a Bill to regulate in some degree the operations now going on.


The information in the first and third portions of my hon. friend's Question is new to me; in regard to the second, I understand that although one of the provisions in the by-laws has been held by the sheriff substitute to be ultra vires, the other provisions remain and should be enforced, so that the local authority are not powerless, as suggested by my hon. friend; they can compel removal of any nuisance found to exist, and have made by-laws dealing with the conduct of the whaling industry; the fourth portion is an expression of opinion, and a matter of controversy. And in regard to the last portion, I have already introduced a Bill which is now before the House and which proposes to regulate this industry.


Is it the case that local authorities have practically no control over this nuisance?

*MR. J. DEWAR (Inverness)

Is it not the case that local authorities have issued an instruction which is loyally carried out insisting that the carcase of the whale must be cleared away in forty-eight hours, and was not the fishing at Barra, the most important fishing station on the West Coast of Scotland, the most prosperous on record last year at the very time the whalers were most active?


That is so, Sir.