HC Deb 24 June 1935 vol 303 cc793-4
23. Mr. LOFTUS

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that the value of fish landed in Lowestoft during the first five months of this year is less by £102,000, a decrease of nearly 50 per cent. than the value of fish landed in the corresponding period last year; and whether, in view of the widespread unemployment and distress caused thereby, he will instruct the Sea Fish Commission to visit Lowestoft at an early date and present an interim report on the situation there?


I am aware of the decreased landings of trawl fish at Lowestoft this year but, as I indicated in reply to a question by my hon. Friend on 11th April last, I am informed that the main cause is shortage of fish on the grounds usually fished by Lowestoft trawlers. The Sea-Fish Commission visited Lowestoft in June, 1934, in connection with their inquiry into the herring industry. They are now engaged in a series of visits to ports in connection with their white fish in-investigation and I understand that they will again visit Lowestoft. I do not, however, think it advisable to ask them to interrupt their programme of work in order to make an interim report on this particular question.


Will the right hon. Gentleman see that the Sea-Fish Commission visit Lowestoft in ample time to give notice to terminate the trade agreement fixing a quota on the import of fish? Will he also consider the question of substituting tariffs instead of quotas as a means of helping the fishing industry?


I will certainly consider these matters. As for the Sea Fish Commission, I think it will be best to leave them to arrange their own programme of work, but I shall be happy to communicate the hon. Member's suggestion to them.

24. Mr. LOFTUS

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in view of the condition of the trawl market in Lowestoft and the possibility of many of the fish merchants having to close down, he will consider arranging that a certain proportion of the Danish and Norwegian fish landed in this country under the present quotas shall be landed in Lowestoft?


I am causing inquiries to be made locally with a view to further consideration of my hon. Friend's suggestion, but it will be appreciated that the matter is one primarily for the Danish and Norwegian Governments, in whose hands rest the control of their exports of fish to this country.