HC Deb 23 July 1952 vol 504 cc511-2
16. Mr. Rankin

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a further statement in regard to the Hong Kong Fish Marketing Board, indicating what proportion of their fishermen own their boats and what proportion have mortgages through debt; and what plans have been considered for the organisation of retail co-operative shops for the selling of the fish and of a co-operative wholesale department for the export of the fish.

Mr. Lyttelton

Yes, Sir; 95–98 per cent. of all fishing vessels based on Hong Kong are owner-operated, and in the last six years only two owners are known to have mortgaged their boats. Co-operative retail shops have been considered, but they would be unlikely to succeed in competition with numerous family concerns operating on a low margin of profit and conducting much of their business on credit. The Fish Marketing Board, operating on co-operative lines, now possesses a mechanical fish drier and intends to develop the export of dried fish.

Mr. Rankin

Does the Minister feel satisfied that the Marketing Board is realising all the hopes that were reposed in it when it was formed?

Mr. Lyttelton

I think probably not, because the field in which the co-operative Marketing Board can operate is, as my answer indicates, rather limited.