§ 15. Mr. Hector Hughes
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland, in view of the proposed extension, from three to six miles, of the sea territorial limits and the loss which will thereby be inflicted on the Scottish fishing industry, if he will state his proposals to compensate that industry by increased subsidy, ameliorating terms for ship building and repairing and taxation and freight reduction.
§ The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. John Maclay)
I would refer the hon. and learned Member to the reply given to him yesterday by my right hon. and gallant Friend the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.
§ Mr. Hector Hughes
Does not the Secretary of State realise that that reply does not cover the Question, that this threat to the British and, in particular, to the Scottish fishing industry still exists, and that the time to protect the industry is now, and not after the event?
§ Mr. Maclay
As my right hon. and gallant Friend said yesterday, the position at the moment is that the only generally recognised rule of international law is that the breadth of territorial waters is three miles. All waters outside those limits are high seas, and Her Majesty's Government have reserved all rights to the freedom of the high seas.