HC Deb 22 July 1941 vol 373 cc778-9
32. Mr. Parker

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that there is a large supply of eels that can be trapped in English rivers; and whether he has taken the initiative to provide any district of England, where fish is scarce, with this additional food supply, or is he working to that end with the Ministry of Food?

Mr. Hudson

I am well aware that there are eels in abundance to be had for the taking throughout England and Wales and, from the outbreak of war, my Department has been active in promoting fishing for eels. Demonstrations on the use of a Dutch pattern of fixed net, hitherto practically unknown here, were carried out last year and are still continuing this year in various parts of the country. In addition every opportunity has been taken of advising owners of weirs provided with racks to bring the racks into repair in order to exploit the supply from this source to the full. The practicability of establishing regular silver eel fisheries on a commercial scale on certain rivers is at present under consideration.

Mr. Leslie Boyce

Can my right hon. Friend say whether an estimate has been made by his Department of the additional food that could be obtained in this way with Government assistance, and if so what it is?

Mr. Hudson

In pre-war days we were large importers of eels, and I should hope that if full advantage is taken of the advice and assistance that my Department is giving we shall be able to make good a very large proportion of that pre-war supply.