17. Major WOOD
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been directed to the great destruction of fishermen's nets and lines by foreign trawlers in the Moray Firth; whether he has any scheme to protect fishermen from the loss they are yearly sustaining from this cause; and whether he will, consider the advisability of bringing the matter before the League of Nations?
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for SCOTLAND (Mr. William Adamson)
I have been asked to reply. From time to time complaints have been made of the damage done to cod nets in the Moray Firth by trawlers. Information has been given to the countries whose trawlers frequent the 410 Firth as to the areas in which the fishing is carried on, and requests for their assistance in warning trawlers to avoid such nets have been sympathetically met. I am informed that the fishermen do not always take necessary precautions as to lighting and watching their nets in accordance with the Fishery Board's Regulations, although the Board at every opportunity draws their attention to the need for such precautions. I am looking into the matter further to see whether anything more can be done.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that legislation was passed by this House to deal with this matter, and that that legislation was nullified by the action of the Foreign Office; and will he make representations to the Foreign Office that it is up to them to do something to prevent the continuance of this damage?
§ Mr. ADAMSON
Foreign trawlers cannot be prohibited from trawling in this area, but that is a matter which I understand is under negotiation, and the Fishery Board are meantime, as I have already pointed out, considering whether more effective protective measures can be devised.
Is it not a question for the League of Nations; and can I have an answer to the last part of my question, which has never been dealt with at all?
Does my right hon. Friend not consider that in the Moray Firth one or two additional small Admiralty boats would effect a change in regard to foreign trawlers, who are destroying the Moray Firth fishermen's trawls and nets?