HC Deb 20 December 1928 vol 223 cc3218-9
63. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the President of the Board of Trade if his attention has been called to the heavy losses through loss of gear and the hindrances to fishing operations still being suffered by British fishermen in the Western Channel owing to the existence of wrecks; and whether he is taking, or has taken, any steps for their removal?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister)

Under the Merchant Shipping Acts a wreck off the coasts of the United Kingdom can be removed by a General Lighthouse Authority only if in the opinion of the authority it is or is likely to become an obstruction or danger to navigation or to lifeboats engaged in the lifeboat service, and there is no power to remove a wreck which may be detrimental to fishing operations but which is not at the same time a danger to navigation. I am informed by the Corporation of Trinity House, who are the General Lighthouse Authority for England and Wales, that any wrecks within their jurisdiction round the coasts are promptly and effectively dealt with by them so far as they are a danger to general navigation.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

In the meantime, is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, while he is considering the question of legal rights, one of the best fishing grounds is being almost ruined and that Brixham alone is losing £7,000 a year through loss of gear?


I was not aware of that fact, but I have no power in the matter. My powers and those of Trinity House are strictly limited.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

May I put this point to you, Mr. Speaker? I addressed this question to the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, then it was changed to the Admiralty, and then to the Board of Trade, no doubt, Sir, by your instructions. I am making no complaint, but I think the President of the Board of Trade ought to know that.


If I may respectfully say so, the question is not correctly addressed to me in so far as it refers to the removal of wreckage. On the question of what powers there are to remove wreckage I have given the only answer that it is possible for me to give.

Commander WILLIAMS

Will the right hon. Gentleman look into this matter further with the other Departments concerned to see if it is not possible to help in other directions in connection with this very heavy loss?

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