HC Deb 29 January 1952 vol 495 cc10-1
20. Sir David Robertson

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will now close the Moray Firth, the Minch, the Firth of Clyde and other coastal waters against all foreign fishing craft.

28. Mr. J. Grimond

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what action he intends to take for the exclusion of foreign trawlers from the Moray Firth or other areas.

Mr. J. Stuart

His Majesty's Government are at present considering what effect the judgment of the International Court of Justice in the Anglo-Norwegian fisheries case may have upon British practice in relation to British exclusive fishery limits, and I regret that I am not at present able to make a statement.

Sir D. Robertson

Is my right hon. Friend aware that at this moment there is a very large foreign fleet fishing in the Moray Firth on grounds which are seriously depleted and which are barely yielding a livelihood to the British fishermen who use them in spite of the high prices that prevail, and will he please consider the heavy penalties which Scottish fishermen have borne for so long because of the inability of previous Governments to protect these grounds?

Mr. Grimond

Is this not an opportunity for the Government to press again for some general international agreement on fishing rights in the North Sea with a view to the preservation of stocks?

Mr. Stuart

I agree with the hon. Member. I would welcome that. With regard to the general question, it does affect international conventions such as the North Sea Fisheries Convention, 1882, and it affects Departments other than the Scottish Office alone. We shall do our best to get on with the matter.

Mr. Kenneth Younger

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that it is most important from the point of view of British fishing interests generally not to lend any colour to the suggestion that the Norwegian decision ought necessarily to be applicable to other fishing areas?

Mr. Stuart

No, Sir. I did not wish to give that impression. I am sorry if I did.