HC Deb 20 June 1950 vol 476 cc1053-5
35. Colonel Gomme-Duncan

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what action His Majesty's Government propose to take on the Report of the Committee on Poaching and Illegal Fishing of Salmon and Trout in Scotland.

90. Mr. William Ross

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether His Majesty's Government have completed their consideration of the Report of the Committee on Poaching and Illegal Fishing of Salmon and Trout in Scotland; and what action it is proposed to take.

Mr. T. Fraser

The Government have given careful consideration to the Committee's Report, and they propose to introduce legislation on the general lines suggested by the Committee.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

May I ask the Joint Under-Secretary whether this legislation is likely to be introduced very soon? The Lord President of the Council did not seem very optimistic about it on Thursday.

Mr. Fraser

I should think that he is the member of His Majesty's Government who might be consulted about the matter.

Mr. Ross

Will my hon. Friend impress upon the Lord President the urgency of the matter?

Mr. Fraser

Yes, Sir.

Mr. James Stuart

Will the hon. Gentleman also take into account the fact that this is an admirable opportunity to deal with all sides of this question of the salmon fishing industry, and that he should not confine the Bill to the Report? Will he consider that point?

Mr. Fraser

I shall ask my right hon. Friend to bear that point in mind.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Is my hon. Friend aware of the strong opinion in Scotland that there should be nationalisation of the fishing rights, without any compensation to the landlords?

Lord Dunglass

In impressing upon his right hon. Friend that this is an urgent matter, will the hon. Gentleman also point out that in the next few months, when the rivers are at their lowest and the fish are congregating in the head waters of the rivers to spawn, they are really most vulnerable? This poaching with poisoning and explosives is a new thing. Is the hon. Gentleman aware that if the use of these methods is allowed to continue on this scale into the autumn, it will do great damage to stocks during the next few years?

Mr. Fraser

This is a very old form of private enterprise. I cannot give any undertaking that legislation will be passed to deal with it in the next few months.

Lieut.-Colonel Elliot

Would it not be more correct to call it "expropriation" than "nationalisation"?