HC Deb 25 November 1952 vol 508 cc239-40
27. Mr. Grimond

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland to make a statement on the results of the Scottish boats at the English herring season.

Mr. Henderson Stewart

Two hundred and forty-two Scottish drifters took part in the recent East Anglian fishing. The majority had left for home by 18th November, rather earlier than usual. The weather was consistently rough, as I saw, and the quality of the fish mixed, and after 1st November catches were poor. In the result, the average gross earnings of the Scottish boats were only about £1,630 as against £2,380 for the longer season last year. Loss and damage to gear has also been greater.

Mr. Grimond

In view of the poor season and the hardship caused to some fishermen, and their families who went south to gut, have the Government considered giving any assistance in the replacement of gear, because the losses have been rather serious in some cases?

Mr. Stewart

I think that the answer is "No." The losses of Scottish fishermen—I think largely because they own their own gear—were very much less serious than those of English fishermen. I am not sure that the losses were so very heavy as to make action of the kind suggested necessary.

Mr. Duthie

Will my hon. Friend agree that his statement emphasises the necessity for legislation to be introduced to continue the provisions of the Herring Industry Act which expired in August last?