HC Deb 19 June 1963 vol 679 cc451-2
34. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty if he is yet in a position to make a statement on the progress made by the international fleet, including the£800,000 Royal Research Ship "Discovery", built in Aberdeen, which is exploring the fishing grounds of the Indian Ocean; and when that fleet will direct its scientific activities to exploring the North Sea and fishing grounds further north.

Mr. Hay

R.R.S. "Discovery" sailed as recently as 31st May last, for a period on station with the International Indian Ocean Expedition which is expected to continue until September next year. There is no proposal that the group of ships which have converged on the Indian Ocean to play their parts in this international project of common world interest should transfer their activities to the North Sea or Northern Waters.

Mr. Hughes

But does not the Minister realise that, in view of the large financial and other contributions which Britain in general and Aberdeen in particular have made to this expedition, some provision should be made for the exploration of the fishing potentialities of the North Sea and of Britain's interest in those fishing areas in particular, and will the hon. Gentleman take steps to see that some return is made to Britain for those large financial contributions to this expedition?

Mr. Hay

I refer the hon. and learned Gentleman to the replies which were given to him on 6th February and 10th April last by my predecessor, who also sent him a copy of the United Kingdom's Scientific Programmes during the International Indian Ocean Expedition. It would, I am afraid, be a complete misuse of the function for which the ship was designed to detail her for inshore and near-water fisheries research.