HC Deb 07 February 1962 vol 653 cc397-9
4. Mr. Woodburn

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will introduce legislation to permit the stocking of further lochs in Scotland with fish as an additional attraction for tourists and to establish the controls necessary to prevent irresponsible depletion of the stocks.

Mr. Maclay

The improvement of fishing in Scottish lochs, by stocking or other means, is primarily for the owners of the fishings; and the Scottish Tourist Board is prepared to assist in certain circumstances. The question of control will, no doubt, be considered by the committee on Scottish salmon and trout fisheries which I am appointing.

Mr. Woodburn

Is not the Secretary of State aware that the greatest handicap here is that once the lochs are stocked, they may be irresponsibly poached instead of fished in accordance with proper regulations? Does he agree that it would be no hardship to the general public if this were done in the ordinary way that anglers have on rivers, in which case the money could be spent on stocking? Would not this be a great attraction to tourists?

Mr. Maclay

Doubtless, that is one of the matters which the committee on Scottish salmon and trout fisheries will consider.

Mr. Manuel

Is the Secretary of State aware of the very great importance in this whole matter of research, especially research into trout fisheries? Does he not think that it was clearly proved in the Report of his Department last year that the bias is now towards salmon and away from trout research, and will not this be very deplorable especially for the Scottish hill lochs?

Mr. Maclay

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman knows of the very valuable work which goes on at the Freshwater Fisheries Laboratory. I am not aware of what he refers to in the latter part of his supplementary question, but I will look at it.

Mr. Willis

Does the right hon. Gentleman think it good enough that this tremendous potential tourist asset which could bring tens of thousands of pounds to Scotland is left to the whims of a few private owners to determine whether or not it should be developed?

Mr. Maclay

I know very well that many owners are prepared to co-operate with the Scottish Tourist Board and with hoteliers to improve lochs. There is the difficult question of poaching to which the right hon. Member for East Stirlingshire (Mr. Woodburn) referred; that has to be considered, and will be.