HC Deb 18 March 1925 vol 181 cc2377-8

"That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £268,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1925, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, including Expenses under the Agricultural Wages (Regulation) Act, 1924, a Subsidy on Sugar and Molasses Manufactured from Beet grown in Great Britain, Loans to Agricultural Co-operative Societies, Grants for Agricultural Education and Research, Grants-in-Aid of the Small Holdings Account, and certain other Grants-in-Aid; and of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew."

Resolution read a Second time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

I want to make certain inquiries upon this Vote with regard to sea fisheries. On this point I would like a reply from the Secretary for the Department of Overseas Trade, because I know he is a well-known authority on sea fisheries. There is great apprehension on the North-East Coast with regard to the continued shortage of fish on certain of the very valuable fishing banks, such as the Dogger Bank, and so on. I am more concerned with the work of the trawlers in the North-East Coast fishing centres. It is a fact that the catches of fish have not been as good as they were before the War, or immediately following the War. The fish are very much smaller, and there are an increasing growth of weed and a great scarcity of the food upon which the fish feed.

I want to ask the Government whether they are fully alive to these facts, and have they any theories to account for the continued shortage of fish? Is it due to over-fishing since the War or under-fishing during the War? It may be due to the high price of fish or to the fact that the stocks have been depleted. It may also be due to the minute organisms on which the fish feed having been affected by various maladies. Are research experiments being carried out on this question in conjunction with the other maritime countries concerned? I know that certain experiments are now going on in Denmark, France, and Germany, and it would be just as well if we had some co-operation in this matter. With regard to what I have said about weed, have the Government any views on this point, or is there any means of dealing with it? Have any experiments been made with any form of weed killer—

It being a Quarter-past Eight of the Clock, and there being Private Business set down by direction of the Chairman of Ways and Means under Standing Order No. 8, further Proceeding was postponed, without Question put.