HC Deb 14 May 1928 vol 217 cc645-6

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether his Department is aware of the large quantities of immature herrings and other fish which are being landed at the present time or being destroyed at or near various fishing ports; whether he will ascertain the amount of damage done by the catching of these immature fish to fishermen as a whole; and whether he can take any steps, by legislation or otherwise, to prevent the landing of immature fish at British pores?


I am aware that considerable quantities of fish are taken by present-day methods of fishing at a stage at which their commercial value, if any, is low. The extent to which fishing by present-day methods is likely to injure the stock upon which the prosperity of the fishing industry depends has for many years past been receiving the serious attention of my Department. Prohibition of the landing of fish on account of immaturity or for any other reason would involve legislation which would inevitably be highly controversial, and I can hold out no hope of its introduction.


Have any steps been taken to regulate the size of the mesh, which trawls up undersized fish?


We have been carrying on experiments with trawls, with a view to finding a mesh that can let the immature fish escape, but, as the hon. baronet knows, fish vary greatly in shape, and, so far, we have not reached any final conclusion.