§ 61. Mr. Mathers (for Mr. R. Gibson)
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the distress amongst lobster fishermen, especially in the West of Scotland, through the low prices obtained for lobsters, particularly during August, September, and October, owing to glutted markets; what are the quantities and value of lobsters imported into the United Kingdom for each month during the last three years, respectively; and whether he will set up a committee to advise on steps to be taken to regulate the imports and supply of lobsters so as to secure a reasonable price to fishermen and a proper development of the lobster fishing and canning industry, particularly in the West of Scotland?
§ Captain Wallace
I am informed that the Fishery Board for Scotland have received no representations confirming the statements in the first part of the question. As regards the second part, particulars of imports of fresh lobsters are not separately recorded in the trade returns of the United Kingdom, but I understand they are not considerable. The figures of imports of canned lobsters are published in the monthly accounts relating to trade and navigation. As regards the last part of the question, I understand that the position of the lobster fishermen is a matter that would properly come under the review of the White Fish Commission proposed to be constituted under the provisions of the Sea Fish Industry Bill. There is an import duty of 30 per cent. ad valorem on fresh lobsters and 10 per cent. ad valorem on canned lobsters.
§ Mr. Mathers
Does the Board of Trade recognise the lobster industry in the West of Scotland as being one which is worth preserving?
§ Mr. Thorne
Will the right hon. and gallant Member pay a visit to Scotts Lobster House in Piccadilly, where he will find that the prices are not getting low?