HC Deb 13 July 1933 vol 280 cc1306-19

6.38 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 3, line 10, at the end, to insert the words: Provided that no order shall be made under this section unless the appropriate Ministers are satisfied that adequate supplies of sea-fish at reasonable prices will be available. The intention of this Clause and the next is to restrict fish coming to our ports, and the next Clause affects the mesh of the nets, a method of conserving the fish in the sea which will be supported by everyone. I cannot say the same with regard to the form of restriction contained in this Clause, and, because of the danger to consumers, we are proposing this Amendment, which will prevent action on the part of the Board of Trade unless one specific point is recognised, namely, that there shall be an adequate supply at reasonable prices. I am informed by those competent to guide me in the matter that this class of fish has in the past created a special type of trade which was a stand-by enjoyed by the poorer sections of the community. We were told on many occasions in Committee that the interests of consumers had to be protected, but that was rather a general statement. The poor to whom I refer are in such a state that any increase in price at all means no fish for them.

The hon. Member for Farnham (Sir A. M. Samuel) stated that one of the problems was to get the fish to the inland towns. Some three years ago an effort was made to deal with this class of fish coming from Northern waters, and it was packed in boxes of two and three lbs. for despatch to inland towns. A considerable amount of success attached to the experiment, and sales went up. Then we saw prices rise. I was told that they increased by about 50 per cent., and in some quarters there was a decline of trade of no less than 66 per cent. There is less sale now than there was at the inception of the scheme. There has been in recent years a considerable change in the dietary of the people, which includes fish in a greater measure than it previously did.

My hon. Friend the Member for Gower (Mr. D. Grenfell) gave figures in Committee showing that the price of retail fish was out of all proportion to the reduction that has taken place in the all-in prices of food. That is even more important when we consider the alteration in the weight that must be given to determine the importance of fish in the diet. To refer to the figures that applied in 1914 is not good enough, because the figures of weight in the dietary of 1914 do not apply to-day. Much more is expected in this form of food than in those days. For that reason, we wish it to be a specific instruction to the Board of Trade that, before giving protection to the industry, there shall be adequate supplies, so that there shall not be hardship imposed on the poorer sections of the country through an increase of prices.

6.44 p.m.


I beg to second the Amendment.

In this Measure and some of his other Measures the Minister is embarking on a highly questionable experiment, and the situation that will be created will want some very careful watching, otherwise conditions may arise in which adequate supplies of fresh fish at reasonable prices will not be available. The acceptance of the Amendment will give the best assurance that the situation will be watched very carefully all the time and that, as the result of the experiment upon which he is embarking, the consumer will not be exploited.

6.45 p.m.


I rise to support the Amendment. I feel, as do my hon. Friends, that it is of the utmost importance that the interests of the consumers should be safeguarded with regard to the question of supplies. The consumption of fish by people in the poorer districts, in spite of the figures which have been given by the hon. Member on the benches above the Gangway, constitutes a very large item as far as household needs are concerned. We are anxious that this customer of the fishing industry should not be adversely affected, and that the supply of this food should be available to the fullest extent to the man-in-the-street—to the poor man who has no other opportunity on most occasions of getting a square meal. The fried fish shop supplies a very definite need to those who live in the poorer districts, and in many cases to those who live in the alleged higher-class districts in our towns. We are particularly anxious that those shops should not be deprived of their supplies or even put into a position of considerable difficulty in obtaining supplies. In those circumstances we feel that a precautionary phrase or sentence of this description should be put into the Bill so that we may be assured that their interests are being watched.

6.47 p.m.

Mr. WOMERSLEY (Lord of the Treasury)

I hope that my hon. Friends will not press the Amendment. It is not necessary to insert such an instruction as this in the Bill. If hon. Members will look at line 1 of the Clause they will see that it is after consultation with the Board of Trade that an order can be made. The Board of Trade is specially charged in the Bill with looking after the interests of the consumers. They cannot look after the interests of the consumers unless they are satisfied that there is an adequate supply of fish available for the consumers. My hon. Friend the Member for Whitechapel (Mr. Janner) referred to the fish-fryers, and I agree with him that they are a very important section of this industry. Over 40 per cent. of the white fish landed in this country is cooked in the fried fish shops and supplied to the poorer people. The area covered by the Order under the Clause, and the period of the year, mean that fish will be restricted as regards the landings when that fish is not of the quality that we desire the working people of this country to consume. Adequate supplies will be available from every quarter of the ocean, because at that time of the year there is no shortage in any part. I am satisfied that it would be foolish to put a definite instruction such as this into the Bill and, seeing that already provision is made in other parts of the Bill, I hope that my hon. Friend will not press the Amendment.

6.49 p.m.


I am not sure that we can accept fully the point of view expressed by the hon. Member fox Grimsby (Mr. Womersley). I appreciate, after what he said upstairs, that this particular kind of fish, being, as the Minister stated, a very large kind and of very cheap quality, and brought on to the market in the middle of the summer and tending to glut the market, may greatly depress prices, assuming that all the fish is sold for human consumption. This was the very substantial point submitted by the hon. Member, who also told us that a good deal of the fish is made into fish-meal and manure, and so forth, and does not find its way into either the fried fish and chip shops or the homes of the people. But we are rather suspicious of everything which is not included in the printed word of an Act of Parliament. We would prefer to see some specific responsibility placed upon the appropriate Ministries, so that this prohibition, which may be for one, two, three, four or five months, shall not be used by the trawler companies to exploit the consumer unduly. We are as anxious as anybody that no untoward incident by recalcitrant trawler owners, or by blacklegs, to put it in the trade union term, should undermine any organisation which may exist within the trawler companies.

There is another point which we must never forget. It is very desirable to cultivate the consumption of fish to-day. From 1919 to 1930 the consumption of fish per person per annum was constantly on the increase. In 1919 we consumed slightly in excess of 21 lbs. per bead, and by 1930 we were consuming no less than 39 lbs. per head. But in 1931 and 1932 imports from foreign countries by foreign trawlers was reduced by somewhere between 400,000 and 500,000 cwts. Curiously enough, in 1932 the consumption of fish in this country declined by 2 lbs. per head, or approximately about 440,000 cwts.—practically the quantity which was not available from foreign sources. These things tell their own story. The imports from foreign sources having decreased by nearly 500,000 cwts. in a year, our consumption went down to that extent. We therefore fell from 39.1 lbs. per head in 1930, to 37.1 lbs. per head in 1932, exactly 2 lbs. The granting of permission to prohibit landing of fish during certain seasons means, we are informed, that it applies to 500,000 cwts. We must therefore conclude that next year there will be another reduction of 2 lbs. per head in consumption, and we shall be down from 37 lbs. to 35 lbs. per head.

As the supply diminishes, obviously the price will tend to increase. What we invite the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries to do at the moment is as follows: By all means let them indulge in these experiments if they deem it wise-to do so, but they must not forget that there are more than 40,000,000 people dependent upon the quantities of fish which determine the price. If supplies are reduced to a certain point so that prices exceed a certain limit, it will cut off a huge layer of the poorer consumers. It may very well be that their second state will be worse than their first. We do not object to the experiments of the right hon. Gentleman. I think that the Government have submitted substantial reasons why power should be put into their hands for this purpose, and because of my trade union connection I appreciate the putting of power into the hands of the central authority, but the power having been granted, we ask that it shall be used with the utmost discretion, always bearing in mind the in- terests of the great multitude of fish eaters in this country. Instead of the consumption being less, it would be better for the health of the people if they, perhaps, consumed more fish. The Amendment is very inoccuous, reasonable and desirable, and if the Government would give us a meed of comfort by watching events and, at the moment supplies are not available at reasonable prices, withdrawing their Order prohibiting the imports from those areas, they would meet not only the wishes of all Members of the House, but would grant a degree of security to the vast multitude of fish-consumers in this country.

6.56 p.m.


I desire to say a few words in support of the Amendment from the point of view of my constituents, who are far remote from any sea-shore and right in the centre of England. Their catching of fish is on a very limited scale. It may be that occasionally they pass the time away by going to the canals and there doing their best to secure bream, roach, perch and even pike, not forgetting the stickleback. I do not think that even the Bill endeavours to deal or to interfere in any way with innocent pastimes of that kind. I can imagine that the Government may have in mind plans for controlling, and even of interfering with the pleasures and pastimes of the people, but that is not included in this Bill. My constituents are very closely interested in the consumption of fish, and they purchase it to a very large extent through the medium of the fried fish shop. I understand that the fish chiefly used there before the War was plaice, but that now larger fish are cut up for the purpose, such as cod, hake, whiting and skate. They are fried in association with potatoes, and are commonly known as fish and chips. But quite apart from that particular way of eating fish, fresh haddock is also very largely consumed by those who have small sums of money to spend in purchasing foodstuffs.

It will make a great deal of difference to many poor people in my constituency if as the result of this Measure the price of fish is in any way raised. It is an essentially reasonable and wise proposal that words of this kind should be included in the Bill, so that there can be some protection from the point of view of the consumer. There will be immense pressure from the trade, and commercial and vested interests, who want the price of fish to go up, and who want as much in the way of quota and exclusion of fish as can possibly be arranged. There is also the point of view of the millions of people interested from the other angle. It wholly interests my constituents, and a vast number of people all over the country. I hope, therefore, that, if the Minister is not able to accept these words, he will give us a most definite and binding assurance that no scheme will be authorised which is likely to occasion any unreasonable rise in price, though one would prefer that there should be none at all. If he can give an assurance that there will be safeguards against exorbitant charges, it will go some way at any rate, towards satisfying those who have great anxieties in this connection. The Minister, if he intends to say anything will, I hope, be able to give some assurance of that kind. If not, I must enter a protest on behalf of my very poor and struggling, but admirable constituents in relation to what may be against their interest.

7.1 p.m.


If the hon. Member had been here a few minutes earlier, he would have heard the statement of the Lord of the Treasury. The hon. Gentleman's own fishermen will not come under the Bill, and the hon. Gentleman can be perfectly satisfied that his salmon fishing is definitely exempt from the Bill. I hope I shall not cause offence. I quite agree with the hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) when he said earlier that what is really wanted in this country is a vastly increased consumption of fish. The hon. Member has at last discovered that, and I congratulate him most sincerely on the discovery. It is interesting, and it is novel, especially coming from the Labour benches, but it has been the whole basis of the capitalist system to increase consumption by whatever action is possible. My hon. Friend below me, when he attains to the industry and celerity of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Don Valley, will make these discoveries in due course. I do not know whether I can explain the matter as well as the hon. Member for Don Valley did, but, as there is just a chance that the hon. Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Mander) may support the Government, I must do my best, as a supporter, to get him to give his vote for the Government. It is the duty of the Government, as has been explained, to endeavour to see that there is an adequate supply of fish coming into this country.

We have had some curious speeches. We have had a speech from the hon. Member for Whitechapel (:Mr. Tanner) laying it down clearly that this Amendment was a, "cautionary phrase." He said that, by putting in this cautionary phrase, we would in some way get the Government to see that there was a real supply of fish in this country. Frankly, I say that that is an exceedingly interesting and novel proposition, coming from the Liberal party—that by putting a Clause into a Bill you can have an adequate supply of fish for the people of this country. It is known that the supply of fish is really one of the most difficult things to regulate. It is dependent on storms, and on very many things of that kind. I would ask those gentlemen who think they can regulate it in this way to realise that, whatever a Government can do, they can never have regular supplies. The only thing the Government can do is what they are doing under this Subsection, for the only way to get a regular, adequate, and good supply of fish is to make it reasonably profitable, and to give

Division No. 266.] AYES. [7.8 p.m.
Attlee, Clement Richard Grundy, Thomas W. Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot
Banfield, John William Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Mender, Geoffrey le M.
Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale) Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd) Maxton, James
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Holdsworth, Herbert Milner, Major James
Buchanan, George. Janner, Barnett Parkinson, John Allen
Cape, Thomas Jenkins, Sir William Rea, Walter Russell
Dagger, George John, William Salter, Dr. Alfred
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields) Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Smith, Tom (Normanton)
Edwards, Charles Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Thorne, William James
Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen) Kirkwood, David Tinker, John Joseph
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Lanebury, Rt. Hon. George Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Foot Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin) Leonard, William Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea) Logan, David Gilbert Williams, Thomas (York., Don Valley)
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Lunn, William Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur McEntee, Valentine L. Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton
Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.) Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan) TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Mr. G. Macdonald and Mr. Groves.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Balfour, George (Hampstead) Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.
Agnen, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)
Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigle M. Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Broadbent, Colonel John
Albery, Irving James Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury) Brocklebank, C. E. R.
Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent) Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B.(Portsm'th, C.) Brown, Ernest (Leith)
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.
Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K. Blaker, Sir Reginald Burnett, John George
Aske, Sir Robert William Borodale, Viscount Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)
Astbury, Lieut,-Com. Frederick Wolfe Boulton, W. W. Caporn, Arthur Cecil
Balllie Sir Adrian W. M. Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart Cassels, James Dale

good wages to the fishing industry so that people in that industry can go to sea.

The hon. Member for Don Valley gave a long list of figures proving that supplies bad increased up to a point, and that since then they had dropped. He did not explain that in the middle of the period a change came, for the Socialist Government were in power. They came into power somewhere about that time. The present Government, with all their ability, and anxiety to help, are doing exactly the right thing, and that is why I am trying to encourage them to-day. They are bringing in a Bill which, I think, will give a, great deal of encouragement to the development of fishing—not for the overproduction of small fish, but for the production of bigger and larger fish. I would ask the hon. Gentlemen who think there is something in this Amendment to realise that by putting in a few words you cannot in any way hope to produce more fish or assist the industry. For that reason I hope that this Amendment, which has been gone into and examined by the House, will be turned down. I support the Government in not adding, and not wishing to add, these entirely unnecessary words to the Clause.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 52; Noes, 209.

Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.) Hurst, Sir Gerald B. Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)
Christie, James Archibald Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H Salmon, Sir Isidore
Clarke, Frank Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.) Salt, Edward W.
Clarry, Reginald George Jesson, Major Thomas E. Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)
Clayton, Sir Christopher Ker, J. Campbell Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Cobb, Sir Cyril Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose) Selley, Harry R.
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Law, Sir Alfred Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.
Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir Godfrey Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.) Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J. Leckie, J. A. Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)
Conant, R. J. E. Lees-Jones, John Simmonds, Oliver Edwin
Cook, Thomas A. Leighton, Major B. E. P. Skelton, Archibald Noel
Cooke, Douglas Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Copeland, Ida Lindsay, Noel Ker Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Cowan, D. M. Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest Smithers, Waldron
Crooke, J. Smedley Llewellin, Major John J. Soper, Richard
Croom-Johnson, R. P. Lloyd, Geoffrey Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.
Cross, R. H. Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.) Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander Spent, William Patrick
Culverwell, Cyril Tom MacAndrew, Lt.-Col. C. G. (Partick) Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Someraet, Yeovll) McConnell, Sir Joseph Stanley, Hon. O. F. C. (Westmorland)
Denman, Hon. R. D. McKie, John Hamilton Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur
Dickle, John P. McLean, Major Sir Alan Stewart, J. H. (Fife, E.)
Dixon, Rt. Hon. Herbert McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston) Strauss, Edward A.
Donner, P. W. Mooney, Thomas Stuart, Lord C. Crichton
Drewe, Cedric Maitland, Adam Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.
Duncan, James A.L. (Kensington, N.) Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M. Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Dunglass, Lord Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Summersby, Charles H.
Eastwood, John Francis Marsden, Commander Arthur Sutcliffe, Harold
Edmondson, Major A. J. Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Tate, Mavis Constance
Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E. Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)
Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)
Emmott, Charles E. G. C. Milne, Charles Thorp, Linton Theodore
Emrys-Evans, P. V. Moreing, Adrian C. Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Entwistle, Cyril Fullard Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.) Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)
Falle, Sir Bertram G. Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh) Touche, Gordon Cosmo
Ford, Sir Patrick J. Morrison, William Shepherd Turton, Robert Hugh
Forestier-Walker, Sir Leolin Muirhead, Major A. J. Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon
Fox, Sir Gifford Munro, Patrick Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)
Fraser, Captain Ian Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Wallace, John (Dunfermline)
Fuller, Captain A. G. Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld) Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wailsend)
Ganzoni, Sir John Penny, Sir George Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Gluckstein, Louis Halle Perkins, Walter R. D. Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Gower, Sir Robert Petherick, M. Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeous
Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, B'nstaple) Wells, Sydney Richard
Graves, Marjorie Pete, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilst'n) Weymouth, Viscount
Greaves-Lord, Sir Waiter Pike, Cecil F. Whiteside, Borras Noel H.
Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John Potter, John Whyte, Jardine Bell
Grigg, Sir Edward Procter, Major Henry Adam Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Grimston, R. V. Ralkes, Henry V. A. M. Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Guy, J. C. Morrison Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothlan) Wills, Wilfrid D.
Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H. Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles) Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)
Hanbury, Cecil Ramsden, Sir Eugene Windsor-Clive, Lieut-Colonel George
Hanley, Dennis A. Rankin, Robert Wise, Alfred R.
Harbord, Arthur Ratcliffe, Arthur Withers, Sir John James
Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n) Rawson, Sir Cooper Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount
Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M. Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter) Womersley, Walter James
Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Reid, William Allan (Derby) Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)
Herbert, Capt. S. (Abbey Division) Rentoul, Sir Gervals S.
Hornby, Frank Rosbotham, Sir Thomas TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Horsbrugh, Florence Ross Taylor, Waiter (Woodbridge) Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward
Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries) Runge, Norah Cecil and Sir Frederick Thomson.

Amendment made: In page 3, line 12, leave out the words "may be dealt with" and insert instead thereof the words "shall be treated."—[Major Elliot.]

7.15 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 3, line 34, at the end, to insert the words: Provided that a notice under this subsection shall not be taken to require the making or delivery of any declaration in respect of the landing of any sea-fish after the end of the period of six months from the date on which the notice is served. () Where any sea-fish are brought to land in the United Kingdom in any vessel, any British sea-fishery officer may, at any time before the vessel next puts out to sea, request the master to make, in respect of any of those sea-fish which have been, or are being, or are about to be, landed from the vessel during a period specified in an order in force under this section, a written declaration that the sea-fish in question are not sea-fish the landing of which is prohibited by the order, and to deliver the declaration to the officer or to such person, or at such place, in the port of landing as he may designate. Nothing in this sub-section shall be taken to affect the operation of the last foregoing sub-section.

The group of Amendments which I am about to move concern the machinery necessary for the carrying out of the prohibitions on the landing of sea-fish, which is the main topic of Clause 2. will deal with the Amendments together, because they form one consecutive story. The main point of the machinery is the giving of notice to the master of the vessel or other person that he must make a declaration as to where the fish. comes from. In Sub-section (3), line 25, hon. Members will see outlined the general system of giving notice, which is that the sea-fishery officer may give notice to the master of any vessel, in writing, requesting him to make on each occasion that any sea-fish are about to be landed a declaration that they have not come from prohibited areas. That is the general method that will be adopted and that will result in a prior notice being given by the responsible authority warning the masters that they must make such declarations. That brings me to the first Amendment.

The Amendment that we make in regard to that part of the machinery is that any such notice given by the sea-fishery officer, that a declaration will be required on the appearance of each vessel in port, is only to last for six months. At the end of that period a notice must again be given by the sea-fishery officer. That is a sound provision, because it brings to the notice of the persons concerned their liability and duty from time to time, instead of the authorities only having to draw attention to these requirements once in a number of years. The Amendment provides that a notice under the Sub-section shall not be taken to require the making or delivery of any declaration in respect of the landing of any sea-fish after the end of six months. That is the normal procedure, but it is necessary to reinforce the normal procedure with respect to a declaration that the fish has not come from a prohibited area, with an ad hoc or emergency procedure in case a boat comes into port which has not received the general normal notice. That is provided in the second part of the first Amendment.

The next Amendment is only a drafting Amendment. It puts into one subsection a matter which had been previously contained in Sub-sections (4) and (5). I need say nothing more about that. The third Amendment of the group, to leave out Sub-sections (5) and (6) and to insert other words, merits a few words of explanation, particularly as I hope and believe that it covers to a very large extent the Amendment which stands in the name of the hon. and gallant Member for Dumbartonshire (Commander Cochrane)—In page 4, line 11, to leave out the words "the owner of the vessel," and to insert instead thereof the words: any person nominated by the Master to receive such notice.

An important point of our Amendment is that the notice under the ordinary procedure which is given to the master is treated as being given to the master of the vessel if it is served upon the owner or upon the agent of the owner, and not only upon owner or his agent but upon the charterer or the agent of the charterer. The importance of making the agent of the owner or the agent of the charterer a proper recipient of the notice that the declaration must be given, is that the owners will be able to appoint their agents at the fishing ports who will in the ordinary course of events receive the notice, and it will not be necessary to trace the owner to his lair. I think that explanation covers the whole scope of the Amendments, and I trust that my hon.. and gallant Friend will find that a point which we all feel is substantial is covered by what I have said.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendments made: In page 3, line 41, at the end, insert the words: and if the master of any vessel fails to make, in respect of any sea-fish, a declaration in accordance with the requirements of a notice duly served on him under this section or in accordance with a request duly made under this section by a British sea-fishery officer, as the case may be, the said sea-fish shall be presumed until the contrary is proved to be sea-fish the landing of which is prohibited under this section.

In line 42, leave out Sub-sections (5) and (6), and insert instead thereof the words: () "A notice under sub-section (3) of this section relating to any vessel may be addressed to "The Master" of the vessel (identifying it by name or otherwise), and shall be deemed to be duly served if it is delivered or sent by post to, or to the agent of, the owner or the charterer (if any) of the vessel, together with a written request that it be transmitted to the master, and, if the notice is served by being so delivered or sent as aforesaid, it shall be deemed to be served on the master of the vessel for the time being and on every other person who at any material time thereafter is the master of the vessel."—[ Mr. Skelton.]