§ 73. Mr. STANTON
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is aware that the total quantity of wet fish landed in England and Wales in April this year showed an increase on that for April last year of only 1,000 tons, or less than 10 per cent., and that the value rose by more than £602,000, an increase of more than 90 per cent.; and will he at once consider the nationalisation of the fish industry to protect the public from exploitation and divert the profits to the relief of national taxation?
§ Mr. PARKER
The figures quoted are presumably taken from the monthly Report of the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries. If that Report is studied in detail, it will be seen that there has been a considerable increase in the quantity of prime fish landed this year and a decrease in the landings of lower-priced qualities. These facts materially affect any comparison between the value of the fish landed in April, 1917 and 1918. The, prices quoted in the Return represent the amount received by the catchers of fish; and, in view of the considerable risks to which fishermen are now exposed, I am not prepared to say that these amounts are excessive. The measures of control already exercised by the Ministry of Food are sufficient, in my opinion, to protect the public from exploitation, and it must be remembered that prices must necessarily be fixed with due regard to times when landings are poor as well as to times when fish is plentiful.