§ 29. Mr. M. MacMillan
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what action is being taken to restore the herring fishing industry in the Western Isles and, in particular, to ensure fair prices and markets for the coming summer fishing.
§ Mr. Henderson Stewart
The Western Isles should benefit from the steps now being taken by the Herring Industry Board to increase sales of herring in both the home and export markets. With Government assistance, the Board have installed quick-freezing and other processing plant at Stornoway and formed a cooperative organisation to develop the production and marketing of Stornoway kippers.
The Government have given substantial grants towards the improvement of Stornoway harbour, and last month increased the subsidised price for herring taken for oil and meal from 45s. to 50s. per cran. Other prices are either settled by auction (subject to any minimum fixed by the Board with the approval of Ministers) or fixed by negotiation between fishermen and buyers.
§ Mr. MacMillan
I appreciate the steps which have been taken by past and present Governments, but can the hon. Gentleman really get down to a 1102 study of the need for development in the islands of Barra and South Uist—where there was previously a flourishing herring industry—especially in view of the fact that there are at present 1,600 unemployed in the Western Islands?
§ Mr. Stewart
We shall try to do that, and we shall be very grateful for any assistance which the hon. Member and the Highlands Advisory Panel can give us.