§ 55. Mr. Driberg
asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is aware that several Essex fishermen, including one from Tollesbury, have recently lost nets and gear on sunken wrecks whose position is not marked by buoys; if he will make good these losses, by grant or compensation; and if, in consultation with the Corporation of Trinity House, he will endeavour to secure the marking of these wrecks by dan buoys and the issuing of corrected charts.
§ Mr. G. Brown
My right hon. Friend is aware that losses of this sort are, unfortunately, not infrequent. The sea bed in the Thames Estuary is much obstructed by wreckage of various origins. some of the smaller obstructions being the most damaging, and complaints have been received from Essex fishermen, though not at Tollesbury. It would be impossible to mark every wreck or piece of wreckage by a buoy, and my right hon. Friend is sorry he has no funds from which he could pay compensation or replace lost gear.
§ Mr. Driberg
Is my hon. Friend aware that, coming at the end of a rather poor season in one of these smaller fishing places in which fishing has, unfortunately, been a declining industry for some generations, this kind of accident is extremely discouraging to the fishermen? Is there no way in which he could possibly help—for instance, under the excellent Act introduced during the last Parliament by our right hon. Friend?
§ Lieut.-Commander Gurney Braithwaite
As the vast majority of these wrecks are the result of enemy sinkings off the Essex coast in 1940 and 1941 should not up-to-date charts have been issued by now?
§ Mr. Brown
I repeat that so far as we can mark and chart these things that has been done. I personally believe—I did not like to say it in case I came in conflict with the views of other people—that the fishermen know where the wrecks are and, on the whole, manage, to avoid them, but if my hon. Friend can suggest that there are some which are causing particular trouble we will certainly see what we can do.
§ Mr. Driberg
How can my hon. Friend suggest that the fishermen know where the wrecks are when they are losing their nets and gear on them?