§ 44 and 50. Mr. PIRIE
asked the Secretary for Scotland (1) if his attention has been called to the increasing scarcity of pearls obtained from the rivers of Scotland during recent years; and, in view of the fact that the river pearl fishing 1017 industry in other countries, more especially in Germany, is in a flourishing condition; whether he? will take steps to resuscitate what is at present practically a dying industry in Scotland by instituting a close time for pearl fishing, and prohibiting the indiscriminate destruction of immature mussels; and (2) whether pearl fishing in any of the principal pearl-yielding rivers, the Spey, Tay, Esk, Dee, and Don has ever been prohibited for any length of time, so as to give the rivers a rest; and if he is aware that stretches in the important pearl-yielding rivers in Bavaria and Saxony are allowed to rest for periods of about ten years when such stretches have been completely fished over?
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
My attention had not been specially directed to the matter referred to by my lion. Friend, and I should be glad to receive particulars of the evidence on which his statement is based, and also any information as to the regulations of pearl fishing in the rivers of Bavaria and Saxony to which he refers. I am not aware that pearl fishing in any if the Scottish rivers has ever been regulated by the Legislature, and new legislation would be necessary for such regulation.
§ Mr. PIRIE
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman, among his other multifarious duties, if he will take the trouble to refer to the "Encyclopædia Britannica." Vol. XVIII., page 448, which will give him all the information asked for? Further, may I ask if this question of pearl fishing comes under the Fishery Board for Scotland or the Board of Agriculture? or has it to be dealt with by "My Lords"?
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
I have said there is no legislation on the subject, and that is an answer to the question.