HC Deb 15 July 1952 vol 503 cc1960-1
24. Mr. M. MacMillan

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland at which places in the West Highlands and Islands the Herring Industry Board intends at an early date to establish plants for oil and fishmeal processing.

Mr. Henderson Stewart

The Herring Industry Board have a plant in operation at Stornoway, and proposals for the erection by the Board, at Government expense, of a plant at Ullapool are now being examined.

Mr. MacMillan

While we appreciate all the work of the Herring Industry Board in this connection, may I ask whether the Joint Under-Secretary is aware that this suggestion would be an ideal solution to the problem in places like Barra and Uist, where there is no possibility of a revival of fishing if the fishermen have to cross the Minch every time they have a catch at the expense of at least a day's time and a good deal of fuel each way? If they had a fishmeal and oil plant on the island it would lead to a solution of the problem. Will the hon. Gentleman get the Secretary of State to bring pressure to bear in support of such a scheme?

Mr. Stewart

I do not subscribe to that view, because the catch of herring in those areas is quite insignificant and would not justify the setting up of a plant. A much better plan would be to get a good efficient plant set up at Ullapool.

Mr. MacMillan

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the fishermen there are discouraged from going to sea because they cannot get an economic market for their catch, whereas if they had a fishmeal and oil plant on their own island they would have a market on the spot and a guaranteed price?