HC Deb 09 February 1956 vol 548 c1795
34. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is aware of the concern in the fishing industry and in the scientific bodies who study fisheries at the diminishing average sizes of commercial fish now being caught in the North Sea; at the diminishing average catch per unit of fishing per individual fishing day; at the diminishing annual yield for the whole area of the North Sea; and what steps he is taking to focus international attention on and to solve these problems.

Mr. Amory

There has been no marked decrease over the past six years in total catch, catch per unit effort or average size of fish landed for most species of fish caught in the North Sea. The hon. and learned Member can rest assured that Her Majesty's Government take a leading part in the work of the international organisations concerned with the conservation of the fish stocks in the North Sea.

Mr. Hughes

Does the Minister realise that not only the fishing industry but consumers also are tired of being told that Her Majesty's Government are taking a leading part in these matters, when nothing is being done? Will the right hon. Gentleman specify what is being done and when the terrible facts indicated in the Question will be seriously dealt with?

Mr. Amory

I am afraid I cannot agree with the conclusion of the hon. and learned Gentleman that nothing is being done. If he reads my Answer he will see that some of the implications made in his Question are not borne out by the facts.