HC Deb 25 June 1913 vol 54 cc1166-8

If section one of this Act is put in force in any part of the area to which the Branding of Herrings (Northumberland) Act., 1891, applies, the powers of the Fishery Board for Scotland and of their officers under that Act shall cease to be exerciseable in that part so far as concerns the branding or otherwise dealing with barrels or half-barrels of herrings.


I beg to move to leave out the words "in that part" ["cease to be exerciseable in that part"] and to insert instead thereof the words "throughout the whole of that area."

The intention of the Amendment is to prevent two sets of fishery inspectors from carrying out their operations in the county of Northumberland. Under the Act of 1891 now in operation the branding of herrings is carried out in Northumberland by the inspectors of the Scottish Fishery Board. It is proposed that the present Bill may be adopted in various districts throughout England, including the county of Northumberland, and the situation might arise that it would be adopted in part of that area and not in the whole. I understand that the Scottish Fishery Board have taken the view that they should either continue the branding of herrings there, and that the county of Northumberland should not be included in the Bill, or that if the Bill is adopted in any part of that county their jurisdiction should cease so that there should not be any conflict between two sets of inspectors going into the district. I move this Amendment in order that the right hon. Gentleman may have an opportunity of informing the House as to the view expressed by the Scottish Fishery Board. I think they were entitled to he consulted in the matter, and I have no doubt the right hon. Gentleman has done so. I think the matter is one that ought to be very carefully considered, and I am quite prepared to accept any expression of opinion which the right hon. Gentleman may give to the House coming from the areas likely to be affected. I regret very much that those hon. Members interested in this subject had not the opportunity of being informed at the usual stage that the Bill was going to be taken to-night. I sincerely hope that in future the Government will see that those who have put down Amendments will be informed in due time when the business is to be reached.


I beg to second the Amendment.


I quite understand the object of my hon. Friends, and I can assure them that we have been in close consultation with the Scottish Fishery Board, and that we are working in harmony with them on this subject. I think what the Scottish Fishery Board had in mind when they first considered this matter was the possibility of Berwick-on-Tweed, which is in the county of Northumberland, adopting this measure, while the remaining ports of Blyth and Shields remained under the Scottish Board, in which case there would have been a crossing over of the two sets of officials. What actually has taken place since this Bill was introduced is this. The Scottish curers in Berwick, or rather the Berwick curers, have declared unanimously that they would prefer to go on with the Scottish brand, and not adopt the English brand, so that the difficulty anticipated as to English officials going up as far as Berwick, and Scottish officials coming down to Shields is past. If the Amendment were adopted, the Act might be adopted by Shields, and in that case it would be impossible for the Berwick curers to have the benefit of the Scottish brand, and that might deal very harshly with the Berwick curers who know their own business better than we do. They have made their choice, and we do not wish to interfere with it. If the Amendment were adopted, Shields might impose on Berwick conditions which it does not desire. I would suggest that, taking into consideration the local views, the hon. Gentleman might withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.