HC Deb 24 July 1934 vol 292 cc1735-7

7.30 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 1, line 6, to leave out from "Act," to the end of the Clause, and to add: apply only in relation to whales known as whalebone whales or baleen whales: Provided that if, for the purpose of enabling effect to be given to any convention relating to other whales which is signed on behalf of His Majesty after the commencement of this Act, it appears to His Majesty to be necessary so to do, His Majesty may by Order-in-Council direct that, subject to such exceptions, adaptations, and modifications (if any) as may he specified in the Order, the provisions of this Act shall apply in relation to those other whales or to such descriptions thereof as may be so specified. This is the first of a series of drafting Amendments to this Bill, and it restores the Clause to the form in which it was originally drafted. In fact, it arises out of an Amendment made in another place. It was thought that by excluding whales known as toothed whales the matter would be simplified, and the other place made an Amendment to that effect. But first thoughts are not always wrong, and when we had further consulted scientific people it was thought that while the term "whalebone whales or baleen whales" was perfectly well understood by every.body—it may be a strange thing to say—there is considerable doubt as to whether the term toothed whales includes all kinds of whales except whalebone whales or baleen whales. Outside that class there are whales with teeth and whales without teeth, and some creatures about which there is doubt as to whether they ought to be properly classed as whales or as grampuses. The second part of the Amendment gives power by Order-in- Council to include other kinds of whales if a convention in relation to them is made, so that we can do it without having to pass an Act which has been found to lead to delay in putting the convention into force. I do not think there is any danger in that, because a similar provision has been in force with regard to the Sea Fisheries Convention for over 50 years. In case the Committee should feel any dubiety about this matter I have taken the precaution to provide myself with a little text book on the subject, in which there are pictures of various kinds of whales and definitions. There is one which is known as the Elliot Dolphin, although it is not so famous or so grand as another whale which is known as "Sulphur Bottom" which is 95 feet in length with a girth of 39 feet. I do not wish to go into this fascinating subject at length, and I ask the Committee to accept the Amendment. I understand that there are one or two points of substance which the Opposition wish to raise.


May I ask whether all the descriptions of whales in the Schedule are included in the Amendment? I am not clear that it does cover all the descriptions in the Schedule, because the Schedule is not being altered.


I am advised that the Schedule will cover all the descriptions brought in here.

7.33 p.m.


I should like to ask whether it is possible either by an alteration in the Schedule or by a covering note to insert the scientific names. This Measure is not of interest merely to whalers and the commercial world; it is of considerable interest to naturalists, and it does not need to be stressed that naturalists throughout the world will not know the meaning of sperm whale or sulphur bottom. They have their own names for these whales, and the only way in which they will know which whales are being alluded to is if they are given their proper scientific Latin name. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will find it possible. to make this alteration or insert some addenda in the Bill.

7.34 p.m.


I am a little unwilling to make any further alteration to the Bill at the moment, but I will take further advice and see whether on Report stage it is desirable to make any such alteration.

Amendment agreed to.