§ 34. Mr. Malcolm MacMillan
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has considered the protests from the Stornoway Town Council against the operation of the Herring Industry Board's rule regarding the time-limit for kippering herring; whether he is aware that the rule is a serious handicap on the West Coast in winter; and what action he proposes to take to end this grievance?
§ Mr. Elliot
I have received representations from the Town Council of Stornoway against the rule mentioned in the question. The making of such a rule by the Herring Industry Board is not subject to Ministerial approval, and I have no power to interfere with the Board's discretion in the matter. I have, however, communicated the representations to the Board who inform me that after reviewing the matter, they regard the general advantage to be secured by the rule in improving the quality of kippers as outweighing any disadvantage which may be involved in particular cases. As regards the effect upon Stornoway, the Board point out that the quantities of herring sent from that port to the mainland for kippering have been inconsiderable.
§ Mr. Macquisten
Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Herring Board fix the time for kippering almost immediately after the herring are landed instead of fixing it for a time after they are caught, with the result that Norwegian herring caught a fortnight before compete with herring caught by local people a day or two before?
Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that the inability of the Herring Board properly to function is due to the fact that he has not the power to interfere with its powers of discretion, 192 and will his Department undertake to ascertain what powers it has with regard to the Board?
§ Mr. Elliot
That is a very flattering assumption of the superiority that I would show over the Herring Board, and I am sure that it would not be borne out in practice.