HC Deb 28 May 1941 vol 371 cc1836-7
21. Mr. Leslie

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether any arrangement can be made whereby foreign fishermen, at present engaged in the supply of fish to British consumers, may take their share of mine-sweeping in the cause of the Allies, and, if practicable, relieve some of our fishermen engaged on mine-sweeping, who may then revert to their normal occupation of fishing?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty (Sir Victor Warrender)

Considerable numbers of allied fishermen are already engaged in mine-sweeping and other Naval duties, both in the Royal Navy and in their own national navies, and have rendered valuable service. It would not be in the interests of efficiency to replace British seamen, already highly experienced, by allied seamen, who would have to be trained.

Mr. Leslie

Is the Minister aware of the feeling among our fishing population owing to the fact that foreign fishermen are making fortunes by supplying fish to our people? Our people do not object to mine-sweeping but they think allied fishermen ought to do a fairer share.

Sir V. Warrender

I have said that considerable numbers of allied fishermen are already engaged in mine-sweeping.