HC Deb 10 October 1946 vol 427 cc355-6
47. Sir R. Glyn

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how far he has been able, with the Admiralty, to agree on the release from minesweeping duties of German trawlers and other fishing craft capable of obtaining fish supplies from the furthest fishing grounds so as to increase the rations of the German population; and to what extent is equipment and gear available.

Mr. J. Hynd

Since January, 1946, 10 trawlers and 68 K.F.K's. have been released to the Fishery Control Board for reconversion to fishing craft. Of the British allocation three trawlers and 68 K.F.K's. are still engaged on essential minesweeping duties and these will be released as soon as possible. First priority is being given to the reconversion of these vessels by the provision of repair facilities and materials and generally everything is being done to increase fish supplies available in the British zone.

Sir R. Glyn

Can the hon. Gentleman say whether there are sufficient gear and nets provided so that fishing can be continued to increase food supplies to Germany?

Mr. Hynd

I would not like to say that there are all the gear and all the other requirements that we would wish, but I can say that first priority is being given to the supply of food in all directions, and particular attention is being paid to fishing. So far as our resources permit the equipment is being provided.

Mr. R. S. Hudson

Can the hon. Gentleman say whether in any period, say within the last 12 months, any trawlers fitted for minesweeping, and which could have been adopted for fishing, have been destroyed on account of their being war potential?

Mr. Hynd

I think I can give a categorical negative reply in that case. There have been a number of hulks that have been destroyed, because following upon the tripartite decision, on examination it was decided that it would be uneconomical to try to repair these in the time and that we should concentrate our available resources on the repair of those vessels which can be repaired and put into operation.

Air-Commodore Harvey

In considering this matter of the supply of fishing gear for German vessels, will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that British vessels are having to wait eight or nine months to get fishing gear?