HC Deb 06 July 1933 vol 280 cc495-7

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has yet been able to assist the fishermen whose nets were destroyed by a trawler convicted at Portree on 20th May of illegal trawling and destruction of nets; and, if not, what action does he propose to take to help them in recovering the value of their property and reasonable earnings lost since then?


I am informed that steps have been taken to institute pro- ceedings against the skipper of the trawler who was convicted on 20th May of illegal trawling, in an endeavour to secure compensation for the fishermen concerned.

35 and 36. Sir M. MACDONALD

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) if he is aware of the opinion universally held in the north-western districts of Scotland that illegal trawling has been the cause of the great decrease in inshore fishing; and what steps does he intend to take to inquire into this matter;

(2) if his attention has been called to the decrease in the average attendance of school children in the island of Skye, as shown by the figures of the summer terms of 1903 and 1933; if he has made inquiries as to whether the decrease in population in that island is due to the decrease in the number of men engaged in inshore fishing as a means of livelihood; and if he has come to any decision as to whether inshore fishing can be restored to its former extent in that area?


I am aware of the representations made by my hon. Friend and others as to the effect of illegal trawling on the inshore fisheries in the northwestern districts of Scotland, and the decrease in population alleged to be due thereto. The matter is at present being inquired into by the Fishery Board for Scotland, and I hope that I shall be in a position to make some statement to the House on the subject before the Adjournment.


Has not the right hon. Gentleman sufficient information on this subject, and will he not be ready to introduce legislation in the autumn dealing particularly with repeated offences by trawlers?


There is a considerable amount of information available on this subject, and, as I have already said, I hope to make a statement of my policy on the subject before the House rises.


Did not Lord Mackenzie's Commission cover the position exhaustively and did not they suggest remedies, by way of penalties, which would have met the situation, and is it not the feeling in the North that the inshore fishermen receive unsympathetic treatment from the Fishery Board, compared with the trawlers?


No, Sir. I do not think it can be said that the Fishery Board of Scotland deal less tenderly with the inshore fishermen than with the trawlers. I hope to make a statement on the subject before the House rises.