§ 32. Mr. Hector Hughes
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether an international inspection force has yet been established to ensure enforcement and uniformity in penalty for infringement of the North Sea and International Fisheries Convention; and if he will make a statement on its work since its establishment.
No, Sir, but the Permanent Commission administering the Convention is appointing an officer to advise member countries upon request with regard to the enforcement of the Convention.
§ Mr. Hughes
Does the Minister realise that a Convention such as this is useless unless it is rigorously enforced, and that that is not being done? Will he make a fuller statement on the subject, as I asked him to do in the Question?
I agree with the hon. and learned Gentleman that the value of the Convention depends on the effective enforcement of the Regulations. He will remember, however, that thirteen nations are members of the Convention, and it is by no means easy to get agreement between them. Her Majesty's Government have taken consistently, and are taking today, a leading part in pressing forward still more effective conservation measures.
§ 33. Mr. Hector Hughes
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is aware that the existing North Sea and International Fisheries Convention, 1946, has proved to be insufficient for the purposes intended; and if he will take steps to achieve and implement a new convention which will implement the purposes intended.
The United Kingdom has already made proposals to the member 1795 countries for a new Convention making wider provision for conservation measures, and discussions are in progress.
§ Mr. Hughes
When will that new Convention meet, what steps have been taken, who will attend it, and when will something be done to deal with the failures which have characterised the work up to the present?
I am afraid that these things take a long time. When agreement has been obtained—if it is obtained—for widening the Convention, that agreement will still require ratification by all the separate countries concerned.