HC Deb 23 February 1943 vol 387 cc15-6
27 Mr. Boothby

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) whether the future of the herring fishing industry is now receiving the attention of His Majesty's Government; and whether any steps have been taken or are contemplated, to ensure that we shall be in a position to meet the demand for cured herring which will arise on the Continent after the conclusion of hostilities;

(2) whether any decision has been reached as to the type of craft which should replace the obsolescent drifter fleets; and whether he will consult with the Admiralty with a view to securing the present construction of a sufficient number of craft suitable for conversion to herring fishing in order to meet the requirements of the immediate post-war period;

(3) whether he will call a conference of representatives of those engaged in different branches of the herring fishing industry to consider the possibilities of increasing co-operation between the fishermen, of eliminating redundant competition between the curers and of improving the sales organisation of the industry?

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. T. Johnston)

The Government have the future of the herring industry prominently before them, and, as the hon. Member is aware, a Committee has been appointed which is at present examining the post-war problems of the industry. Preliminary recommendations have already been made by the Committee, and the hon. Member may rest assured that the various matters to which he refers are not being overlooked. As regards the suggestion for a conference, I understand that the Committees are obtaining evidence on all aspects of the problem from the different branches of the industry.

Mr. Boothby

Does not the right hon. Gentleman think it would be more satisfactory if he pursued these investigations with regard to the future of the industry by means of direct contacts with those engaged in the industry rather than through the medium of a Committee which does not know much about it and the report of which cannot be published?

Mr. Johnston

There are only parts of the report which may not be published, as the hon. Member knows, for security reasons.

Mr. Malcolm MacMillan

Is my right hon. Friend in touch now with the Russian Government, in view of the present favourable circumstances, as Russia used to be one of the greatest markets for our herring industry?

Mr. Johnston

Obviously that is a matter which is before the Committee.

Mr. McKinlay

Is my right hon. Friend aware that it has been stated by those who know the industry that the Government have mobilised all the red herring from now onwards?

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