HC Deb 20 February 1963 vol 672 cc434-5
25. Mr. Wolrige-Gordon

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if, until the Hunter Committee has reported, he will allow inshore fishermen to pursue salmon in the sea with other gear than drift nets.

Mr. Brooman-White

Apart from general restrictions on trawling and seine net fishing in certain areas, fishing with drift nets as defined in the Order is the only method of fishing for salmon in the sea which is at present prohibited. My right hon. Friend cannot give any assurances about other methods of fishing should they prove likely to be damaging to salmon stocks.

Mr. Wolrige-Gordon

Is my hon. Friend aware of the feeling which exists among the inshore fishermen about this prohibition of their fishing in seas which they have been accustomed to regard as free? May I take it that my hon. Friend is at least as concerned for the livelihood of the many as he is for the sport of the few?

Mr. Brooman-White

We are most concerned about the position of the inshore fishermen, but they would most certainly be damaged by any serious diminution in salmon stock.

Mr. Hoy

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Government prohibited these waters to our own fishermen only, still leaving it possible for foreign fishermen to come in and fish there? This is the result of the Government's action. It is against this action that the inshore fishermen of our own country are protesting. What does he intend to do about it?

Mr. Brooman-White

All the difficulties on that side were very fully discussed when the Order was debated. I do not think that I can add to what was said then.

Mr. Malcolm MacMillan

Is the Under-Secretary aware that this last season there was a tremendous harvest of salmon available right up the west coast and the islands of Scotland? There was no reason on earth for preventing fishermen or anybody else exercising their elementary and natural right of catching a salmon for the pot. Why do the Government keep interfering and setting up committees when it is as simple as that?