HC Deb 14 March 1918 vol 104 cc460-1
32. Mr. BYRNE

asked the. Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food if he will see that Irish interests are considered when fixing the price of fish; if he will say whether any Irish representatives of salmon-fishing industries were or will be consulted before the price is fixed; and if he will see that nothing is done that will interfere with production?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative; to the second, that the Fishery Department for Ireland was consulted before the prices were fixed; and to the third, that the greatest care has been taken to secure that prices are not fixed so low as to discourage production.


Arising out of that answer, may I ask the hon. Gentleman whether any committee has been set up in Ireland to deal with this question of the price of salmon, and, if so, would he recommend that some Irish representative be placed on such committee?


I am not aware of the establishment of any separate committee, but, as my reply states, the Fisheries Department for Ireland has been consulted. If my hon. Friend has any particular information bearing on the question, I shall be glad to receive it from him.


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether his attention has been called to the report of the Fishmongers' Company that their fish-meters seized and condemned at Billingsgate Market in the month of February 100 tons 15 cwts. of fish as unfit for food; and that this quantity was nearly double what was condemned in February, 1917; and whether he will take all steps possible to prevent this waste of necessary food in the future?


The answer is in the affirmative. Every effort is being made to secure that fish reach the markets in good condition, but I may remind the hon. Member that the difficulty of ensuring rapid transport, both by sea and by rail, is necessarily increasing under war conditions. These difficulties are enhanced during the periods of exceptionally heavy catches of migratory fish.


May I ask if they have not sufficient ice at Billingsgate to keep this fish, or salt?


There are occasions when ice is not available at the particular points where fish may be lying at the time being.


In view of the importance of this matter, would it not be possible to use motor lorries in cases of urgency?


I may say that the quantity of herrings landed on the mainland in this case was believed to have been totally unprecedented, and on that account inevitable congestion was caused, and therefore waste resulted.

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