47. Commander WILLIAMS
asked the Prime Minister what measures he proposes to take to prevent the continued decline in the numbers of men engaged in the fishing industry, in view of the serious ultimate effect it must have on recruiting for the Navy, on the provision of men for the merchant service, and the food suply of the country?
§ The MINISTER of AGRICULTURE (Mr. Edward Wood)
I have been asked to reply. The decline referred to arises mainly from decreased activity in the herring industry, general post-war depression, and the increased adoption of mechanical methods of fishing. I am glad to say that there are strong indications of the arrest of the decline, as there were 600 more men employed in 1923 than in 1922, and I expect the figures for 1924 will show a further increase. The Government is fully alive to the importance of the industry as a recruiting ground for the Navy and the Mercantile Marine, and, as I have indicated in a previous answer, will do whatever is reasonable and practicable to foster it.
§ Sir A. SINCLAIR
Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that the refusal of Government to continue the credit facilities for Scottish fishermen which were afforded in the last Parliament must have the reverse effect to that which he indicates in the answer he has given?
§ Mr. MORGAN JONES
Is not the improvement in this industry due to the reopening of trade with Russia?